Comparing the Intelligence of Women in Shelley's Frankenstein and Gould's Women's Brains

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Intelligence of Women in Shelley's Frankenstein and Gould's Women's Brains

Throughout history, women have always aimed for a recognized place in society. Centuries ago, people looked at the role of women in society as being sociologically inferior. Seeing the revival of the Feminist movement, which boldly opposes the stereotypical characteristics of women in society, on one hand, and promotes the elevation of women's status in society, on the other, one would not find it hard to believe the drastic differences in opinion of people on this issue. What is amazing is how these differences reflect upon scholarly works in science.

For example, in a play titled Frankenstein, based on a novel by Mary Shelley,
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This shows that Mary Shelley must have been ahead of her time. Probably, it could also mean that if Elizabeth had been a part of Victor's experiment of creating life, the creature would not have turned into a destructive monster, thereby preventing the tragedy.

In contrast, Stephen Jay Gould, in "Women's Brains," questions the validity of Paul Broca's study (1824-80), a professor of clinical surgery at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, who used unrefined techniques to prove the lower intelligence of women as compared to men (753). Having been convinced about the direct link between the intelligence of an individual and the size of brain, Broca used his knowledge of craniometry, the method of skull measurement, to make a relationship between the cranial capacity and the development of the brain. As Stephen Gould puts it, Broca based his arguments on his data, which he collected meticulously "from the autopsies he performed in four Parisian hospitals." He found the average weight of "292 male brains to be 1,325 grams, while 140 female brains averaged 1,144 grams, a difference of 14 percent of male brain's weight" (754). Broca took this to mean that women were born biologically inferior to men, whom nature endowed with intellectual superiority. According to Gould, this discovery fuelled acrid misogynist remarks and sarcasms: "The theologians had asked if women had a soul ... some scientists were ready to refuse them