Persepolis: Changing Western Perceptions of Muslim Women Essay
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Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel, Persepolis, makes important strides toward altering how Western audiences perceive Iranian women. Satrapi endeavors to display the intersection of the lives of some Westerners with her life as an Iranian, who spent some time in the West. Satrapi, dissatisfied with representations she saw of Iranian women in France, decided to challenge them. In her words, “From the time I came to France in 1994, I was always telling stories about life in Iran to my friends. We’d see pieces about Iran on television, but they didn’t represent my experience at all. I had to keep saying, ‘No, it’s not like that there.’ I’ve been justifying why it isn’t negative to be an Iranian for almost twenty years. How strange when it isn’t…show more content… The third space to which Miller refers, that of the working, psychic, and social space of the author, is the one in which Satrapi chooses to engage her readers.
Utilizing nego-feminism, questioning subordination and preexisting understandings of culture, and the stark depictions of a graphic novel, Satrapi makes a compelling case in humanizing Iranian women like her. In this way, Satrapi reclaims the space of her identity and how it is represented and the ethics of doing so, and alters it in order to provide a more representative picture of her life in Iran. Satrapi tells her story with images of privileged characters whose politics, financial situation, and values well match those of liberal Westerners. Further, she demonstrates her autonomy, independent of the regime, in which she also is able to demonstrate her passion for spirituality and nationalism. She begins her story from a child’s perspective in order to alter preexisting perceptions about Iranian women overall proving her strong love for her family in a way that echoes American values.
Satrapi is a self-proclaimed pacifist who wishes more children could study abroad, arguing that having experienced that; you cannot hate what you know (Satrapi, “Why I Wrote Persepolis” 11). Satrapi was able to pursue a study abroad experience, but