Persepolis: Changing Western Perceptions of Muslim Women Essay

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 something I did or chose to be?” (Satrapi, “Why I Wrote Persepolis” 10). In acknowledging both Eastern and Western feminism, Satrapi’s novel humanizes the female Iranian perspective in a way that can easily digested by Western audiences.

This novel acts as an autoethnographic text, a term coined by Mary Louise Pratt, in which Persepolis acts as “a text in which people undertake to describe themselves in ways that engage with representations others have made of them” (Pratt 35). This novel, which depicts her life so far, demonstrates a mastery of the spaces of representation. As one theorist has argued, “In discussing Persepolis in relation to the theme of women and space, we will draw upon a framework suggested by Pollock for reading the work of women artists…Pollock refers to three spatial registers: first, the locations represented by the work (and, in particular, the division between public and private space); second, the spatial order within the work itself (concerning, for example, angl...

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... and changed Western perceptions in doing so.

Works Cited

Gökarıksel, Banu and Anna Secor. The Veil, Desire, and the Gaze: Turning the Inside Out. Signs, 40, 1 (Autumn 2014): 177-200.

Miller, Ann. “Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis: Eluding the Frames.” Johns Hopkins University Press: L’Espirit Createur, Vol. 51, No. 1, Spring 2011: 38-52.

Nnaemeka, Obioma. “Nego‐Feminism: Theorizing, Practicing, and Pruning Africa’s Way.” Signs, Vol. 29, No. 2, Winter 2004, 357-385. Online.

Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Perspolis. New York: Pantheon Books, 2004. Print

Satrapi, Marjane. “Why I wrote Persepolis: a graphical novel memoir: writer Marjane Satrapi faced the challenges of life in post-revolutionary Iran. She used the graphic novel format to tell her unique story.” Marjane Satrapi. Writing!, Nov-Dec, 2003, Vol.. 26(3), p. 9(5) Cengage Learning Inc.

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