Beginning with Plato and Aristotle, Western philosophy grounded in the Greek tradition has elided the female body with deformity and dysfunction. Viewed a mutilated male, the female body is framed as an aberration too incapacitated by its reproductive qualities to pursue philosophical endeavors. Consequently, the female body is thus reduced to its functional process and becomes an object instrumental in pursuit of patriarchal goals. In honor of the bicentennial anniversary of Frankenstein (1818), these ideas are explored via the character Justine Moritz. Through her, and the treatment of her, the female body is revealed to be a source of anxiety from the male perspective – a monstrous imitation that complicates issues of subjectivity and objectivity. Using the work of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in the tradition of embodiment philosophy, this paper suggests that disentangling the female body from monstrosity will require the male body to also be contextualized as a reproductive body. A characteristic that has primarily been forced upon its female counterpart leaving the male almost invisible.
Keywords: female body, embodiment philosophy, phenomenology, experience, reproduction, monstrosity, monster, Frankenstein, Justine Moritz, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, George Lakoff, Mark Johnson, feminist theory, Monster & Madman, Frankenstein Created Woman, Madame Frankenstein
Presented at the Northeast Popular Culture Association 2018 conference on October 19 at Worchester State University, Massachusetts.