By: Katherine Hernandez

In the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, there is the undertone of gender ambiguity with the main character Victor Frankenstein. In our class we have already discussed the differences in social classes, feminism and even the role science plays in the novel, however as we delve into the core problems Shelley was trying to evoke, the question arises; how do all of these things tie together? From early stages in the novel, we can see that Victor possesses a passion towards the sciences; specifically the ability to create life. When discussing this desire, as a class, we decided to call this “womb envy.” Victor is envious of the fact that he is not able to create life with his male anatomy thus delves himself into science and his studies in order to create “the monster” we all know. Victor Frankenstein often struggles with himself to find a sense of inner peace. When plagued by dreams of his dead wife Elizabeth morphing into the decaying corpse of his dead mother, his ever-present ‘mommy issues’ is the first things that come to mind, however, his pursuit for beauty is the pinnacle of what he truly desires. Victor showed little to no emotions when the death of his beloved wife, Elizabeth occurred, could it be that she was just a surrogate for his dream to bare life? Once Victor created life on his own, without her, she was no longer the pawn he needed in order to fulfill his “womb envy.” And all those who are aware of the literary correctness of the novel by differentiating who Frankenstein is and who the monster is; is it possible that we have been calling Frankenstein, the scientist, the monster because we believe he is so, even if it is unconsciously.

Susan Stryker makes an interesting appeal when discussing the monster’ in the novel Frankenstein. Claiming that as a person who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community there must be a way for them to take back such words such as “monster” or “freak” when others use them against them in a derogatory manner. What is interesting is the fact that she like many others not only in our society but also in our class associate the monster with what Victor Frankenstein created, and there are similarities that Stryker brings up that compares a transgender person and “the monster.” Just like in the novel, many people in the trans community find themselves alienated by people and communities that should be their allies, they also both faced the terrible adversary that at times makes it hard if not impossible to grow. However, the question arises; just like in Frankenstein the creature was referred to a monster many times, even by Victor himself even though he created it and it is because of ignorance. Just like in the transgender community and the LGBTQ+ community, many of these derogatory slurs are thrown around because of ignorance that is present in our society. So, I must ask Stryker, who is the real monster? People trying to define themselves in whichever way makes them comfortable for people who are blinded by their ignorance?