In Jessica Fisher’s article, “I am Frankenstein’s Monster: An Echo of Susan Stryker’s Call to Action”, she describes the inevitable perilous lives of marginalized people, particularly, the transgender community. Moreover, she purports that the antidote to this chaotic life is the use of their “transgender rage” -fueled by the reclamation of words used to demean the transgender community-  in a conducive manner to somehow change society. This means of combatting the chaos that transgender people will inevitably face is not only detrimental to the advancement of their cause but also to their personal development.

In Susan Striker’s essay, – which was the inspiration of Fisher’s article- she compares the creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to the transgender body. Both Fisher and Striker use the words “monster” to describe themselves almost as a stand against the oppressive society which will inexorably judge them. “The transexual body is an unnatural body. It is the product of medical science. It is a technological construction. It is flesh torn apart and sewn together again in a shape other than that in which it was born” (Striker p. 238). Furthermore, both Stryker and Fisher use the reclamation of words like this to “fuel their rage” which they would eventually use to further their cause. She states, “For me, it is time to dull the impact these words have when used against us. It is well worth embracing who we are as monsters. It isn’t our responsibility to make the villagers understand or accept us, and maybe, in fact, we can’t.” Similarly, this sentiment is expressed in Frankenstein by the creature, “My feelings were those of rage and revenge. I, like the arch-fiend, bore a hell within me;  from that moment I declared everlasting war against the species, and, more than all, against him who had formed me, and sent me forth to this insupportable misery.”(Shelley, 121).  This is not a tenable solution- as evident in the quote due to the chaotic and menacing nature in which the creature speaks such words- to the chaos which the transgender community will face, this “solution” can only lead to either further alienation of the transgender community or the tyrannous imposition of the admiration of the trans community. In an attempt to showcase the struggle which trans people face in western society, Fisher cites a case where a boy in psychiatric care, who was alienated because he was trans, committed suicide. While this is an evident case of the horrendous malevolence which some people might use against others, the cause of this boy’s death is having more to do with his own reaction and feeling of despair to the alienation which he had faced.

One should seek to adopt responsibility and focus on self-development and not dwell and pity oneself as a cause of life’s various misfortunes. Otherwise, one will fall into the domain of intense tribalism and collectivist ideology which can only result in the alienation of certain groups or the tyrannous rule of other groups or both. Yes, life is treacherous and full of evil fueled by malevolence, Yes, people are oppressed- although not as much as people would like to have you think-, Yes western society is unfair, but one is much stronger and formidable than one would assume. One is capable of being the remedy to their own suffering. One is capable of changing society effectively and incrementally by changing oneself first so that one is able to remain headstrong in the face of any adversity that we will face. The point is that we are all capable of being formidable and tenacious individuals through the adoption of responsibility and a focus on self- improvement.

 

 

 

by Steven Gonzalez