Representations of Post-Female: The Women of Warhol’s Cinema in a Post-Human Context.
Andy Warhol was a director who specialized in projecting aspects of the post-human unto film, while also using his particular filmmaking aesthetic to illustrate how post-humanism can function on both the end of the object and subject; the camera and what it is capturing. At first, Warhol was not particularly interested in photographing the female sex, and in fact following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Jack Smith, employed female impersonators rather than women themselves. The first female subject Warhol had was Edie Sedgwick, who I would argue is the prime example of Warhol’s aesthetic of post-humanism, not only in the way in which it captures man as a machine, and humanity existing within a mechanical apparatus, but also of the defeminization of his female subjects, beginning with Edie Sedgwick and culminating with Valerie Solanas in ‘I, A Man’ (1967). I would like to argue that Warhol was a filmmaker who tried to make completely irrelevant the concept of gender. There is a transformation trend in his films in which Warhol is attempting to mutate woman into man, and man into machine. Sedgwick is the picture of androgynous appeal, signifying the irrelevance of gender difference. Later, we see how his deconstruction of femininity culminates in his film with Valerie Solanas, who is arguably the most unfeminine character in any of his films. She serves as a Mulveyain sort of signifier as well as the personification of the opposite side of drag. She, as woman is the ultimate in post-womanhood. Warhol’s depiction of femininity in both silent and sound film is that of ironic condescension. It is a profound study of preservation of an element of humanity that according to Warhol, was at that point no longer significant.