Anne Mellor argues in her essay “A Feminist Critique of Science” that “the scientist who analyses, manipulates, and attempts to control nature unconsciously engages in a form of oppressive sexual politics” (12). While Mellor’s point that scientists, specifically males like Victor, manipulate and conquer nature to their own benefit and glory by reducing it to the same position women are subjugated to has validity, it is important to acknowledge that these sexual politics work concurrently with capitalistic motives that cause women and nature to be overpowered by a hierarchy of power. Thus, it is through the stripping of agency and imposing of a fragile, feminine perception that men take advantage of the natural world to achieve their godly desires of power and glory.

Various statements made by the male characters, especially men of science, emphasize the power held by men that elevate them to positions of superiority and disregard the actions of other people, like women, and natural processes. This dominance revolves around a focus on their singularity in which they and they alone are view themselves as the ones to achieve an action or possess the power to achieve something almost impossible. Doctor Waldman states that scientists are able to “penetrate into the recesses of nature and show how she works in her hiding places” (Shelley 52), gendering nature with the feminine pronoun of she. In doing so, he is saying that scientists have the power to truly dissect and break apart every inch of nature to not only reveal its workings but also imitate it. The use of penetrate to describe their power over the female gendered nature establishes their place above women and nature, indicating each’s submissive qualities that can be dominated by the male’s will. In highlighting their excellence and the potential they have to gain further status, men of science disregard the miracles of others and the natural world they wish to keep below them. As he fantasizes about creating a living being, Victor Frankenstein says, “[M]any happy natures would owe their being to me. No father could claim gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve it” (Shelley 57). While giving life back into a deceased body is a major feat, Victor depicts the birth of his being as an event worth of more recognition than anything else. This completely disregards the miracle and wonder of the standard birth by women where they, in collaboration with Mother Nature is responsible for the biological processes by which the birth must go through, grow an entire being within them from scratch instead of picking remnants of already created bodies just as Victor did. Even though women have abilities, the dominant male gender places their feats above them, erasing the women’s history of success and their agency that makes them into second-rate citizens and easy targets for exploitation by men.

By reducing women and other components of life like nature to subordinate positions inferior to men and their “scientific” endeavors, men develop a major ego in which they overlook the consequences of their actions on others and turn the misfortunes of others into advantages to preserve their superiority and advance their goal they are fixated on. Victor, like other scientists Mellor mentions “[whose] professional detachment often precluded a concern with ethics and politics in their research. They prefe[r] to leave the problems resulting from the social application of their discoveries to others” (Mellor 12), are so focused on the greatness he can achieve by producing life that he ignores his effects on the beings and natural world around him. By disrupting the natural order of the development of life and belittling the authority and importance of women as the primary sources of life and other natural procedures that maintain existence but are gendered to feminine and weak, Victor sets himself and his abilities on a pedestal and uses the weakness of the feminine as means to achieve his goal of life. While women and nature have been reproducing the miracle of life forever and without them the concept wouldn’t exist, their efforts and labor were to no avail except for the men of science who took ownership of the process and hold themselves above all others. Men of science find ways to imitate the powers of the forces they gender as feminine and weak, and therefore at their mercy to exploit, and reap their benefits while the latter’s agency and authenticity is erased and they are pushed below their exploiters.

-Wendy Gutierrez