Science Sexuality and the Erasure of Gender

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One of the most overlooked questions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is the gender of the creature – due to the fact that many readers assume that the monster is a male – because it is never explicitly expressed through Victor Frankenstein’s intentions. Many feminist and scientific critics argue that Shelley reveals the unstable, conflicted aspects of Frankenstein’s sexuality which expose[s] his homophobia and state that Frankenstein reject[s] women (Daffron 417).

However, similar to President Trump’s attempts to erase transgender people from existence, Victor Frankenstein strives to not simply reject, but erase the female sex and gender from his world. Due to his obsessive passion for science, his exploitation of nature, and his fear of female sexuality, Doctor Frankenstein creates a creature embodying his ideas of male sexuality and in the process inadvertently expresses his homo-erotic fantasies; while unconsciously taking on the reproductive role of women in order to erase their need in the world, or perhaps become one himself. America’s current administration is considering [the] adoption of a new definition of gender that would effectively deny federal recognition and civil rights protections to transgender Americans (Crary).

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This means that the Trump administration would dictate whether or not certain sexes or genders exist. The government is essentially using oppression and discrimination to erase transgender people through the denial of their fundamental rights as citizens of America. We can only hypothesize a reason for this erasure of gender. Victor Frankenstein, on the other hand, creates an undead being in order to begin a new human’ race of only males, either advertently or unintentionally attempting to erase the female gender. In the 18th century, gender and sex were strict ideas based on biological factors and appearance, and female inferiority to men was seen as an undisputed fact. It is horrific that now, in 2018, this idea persists, as certain genders and sexes are treated lesser than others.

Mary Shelley, through the character of Victor Frankenstein, explains some of the reasons behind deciding to erase people, as well as expressing her dissatisfaction with a male’s place of dominance in the world. We all have something to learn from Frankenstein, even our president. It is predominantly evident that the creature is male because Victor Frankenstein refers to it as he and him. He uses the pronouns he gave to it as its creator, however, this does not fully prove the male nature of the being.

When the creature becomes lonely and asks Frankenstein for a female companion, the doctor is afraid to create the female partner because the creature would want children, and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth (Shelley 144). If the partner he created were to be female, the only way for her to have children with the creature would for it to have functional male genitalia.

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