Persepolis Womens Oppression Essay

Persepolis: A Feminist Perspective Essay

867 WordsMar 26th, 20144 Pages

Marjane Satrapi says in multiple interviews that she does not subscribe to feminism; instead, she describes herself as a humanist. However, her graphic novel memoir, Persepolis, has several themes at its core that convey feminist ideals. Throughout the novel, Marjane constantly expresses frustration with Iran’s strict regulations on women. She also grows up with strong female relationships in her family; these women help shape Marjane into the woman she is today, a woman who won’t stand for inequality. Marjane has two influential female role models: her mother and her grandmother. Both women are outspoken, independent, and progressive. They always encourage Marjane to be herself and to never lose touch with who she is and where she comes…show more content…

When she sends Marjane away from Iran, she assures her: “I know how I brought you up. Above all, I trust your education” (147). Marjane’s mother doesn’t want her daughter to live in such an oppressive time. When the veils become mandatory, Marjane’s mother wishes to take her to an opposition demonstration: “She should start learning to defend her rights as a woman right now!” (76) In growing up with such strong female role models, Marjane learns to express her opinion and always stand by her beliefs. They taught her to stand up for herself as a woman, and in doing so, introduced her to a feminist perspective on life. In Persepolis, the Islamic state makes the wearing of veils compulsory, under the assertion that it is a symbol of both Iranian culture and Islamic religious law. While Marjane accepts the veil as part of her life, she rebels against the ideology it represents. When Iran begins to enforce stricter dress codes to ensure modesty, Marjane sees that the veil is a form of controlling the female population, a form of suppression. She rejects the double standard that allows Iranian men more freedom: “You don’t hesitate to comment on us, but our brothers present here have all shapes and sizes of haircuts and clothes. Sometimes, they wear clothes so tight that we can see everything” (299). Marjane must experience the misogynistic nature of the fundamentalist Islamic

Show More

Similar Documents

Women Oppression

...Interview of the Oppressed Individual Introduction For centuries women has played the role of being the “underdog”; they have had to deal with being treated unequally in all respects. These women are being discriminated against based on their gender, this is known as sexism. Not only are women victims of sexism, but they are also victims of systematic discrimination, known as oppression. In the past, women were not known for their value as human beings and contributions to society as a whole; instead, they were confined to the home and valued for the children they could bear and reduced to the property of their husbands. Although women’s oppression has changed throughout time, it still remains a constant issue in today’s society. Black Woman in Cooperate America Ms. Boyd is a Transition Assistant Manager at Allstate Insurance Company. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English which helps her to adhere to her job description. Her job consists of training individuals in insurance sales and assists them in developing the correct skills to meet the long and short term goals of the company. Being that she is an African American woman in cooperate America, she is constantly faced with many troubles and she experiences unfair treatment being that she is a woman. This oppressed individual is constantly viewed as inferior to those around her because of her skin color as well as her gender. When interviewing her she informed me that men get paid $7,000 more in salary annually. She......

Words: 1660 - Pages: 7

Atwood's Look Into the Future

...Atwood’s Look into the Future Margaret Atwood used The Handmaid’s Tale to depict the possible future of the United States. Atwood takes current societal, economical, political, environmental and gender-related issues and uses them to create a possible future that is just as oppressive as the country’s past, leaving the reader to contemplate what they can do as a human being to protect this earth, and/or society from becoming a country “established by religious fanatics who have dismantled the republic, liquidated the opposition and replaced out present political system with a quasi-military infrastructure,” (Kendall 149). Atwood brings up such issues as money, a predominantly male government, the environment, and the value of a woman’s body throughout the text in an effort to bring to light some of the typical controversies of present time. “Yet the book just does not tell me what there is in our present mores that I ought to watch out for unless I want the United States of America to become a slave state something like the Republic of Gilead whose outlines are here sketched out,” (McCarthy 150). Atwood makes her warnings clear through the Tale she has written. Atwood uses a common middle class woman, in an effort to sympathize with the majority of women in the United States, also known as Offred, to paint the picture of the futuristic, or dare I say historical, times. “[Offred] is simply a warm, intelligent, ordinary woman who had taken for granted the freedoms......

Words: 2487 - Pages: 10

To What Extent Does the Handmaid’s Tale Present the Future as a Feminine Dystopia?

...To what extent does The Handmaid’s Tale present the future as a feminine dystopia? A feminine dystopia imagines a world gone terribly wrong, exploring the most extreme possible consequences of current society’s problems. In a feminine dystopia, the inequality of society or oppression of women is exaggerated or intensified to highlight the need for change in contemporary society. The Handmaid’s Tale presents the future as this in many ways. Chapter 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale presents the future as a feminine dystopia. Religion is brought up as Gilead is seen to be trying to purify the values of women, for example Offred is only allowed a single bed, the words “nothing takes place in the bed but sleep; or no sleep” highlight the fact that a bed is only for sleeping, to purify her. The reference to nunneries also suggests there is religion involved in Gilead, Offred states that “time here is measured by bells, as once in nunneries. As in nunneries too, there are few mirrors” this suggests sexual contact for the Handmaids, or anyone, is forbidden, and the use of the word “once” suggests that Offred is like a nun, or feels like a nun, out of a nunnery and in a house. Also in chapter 2, the role of the Handmaids is introduced; we learn they are needed for something very important, as they are not allowed to attempt to kill themselves as it is said that “they’ve removed anything you could tie a rope to.” Also Offred says “I am not being wasted.” This shows that the Handmaids are......

Words: 1501 - Pages: 7

Liberal Views in the Ruins of War in Marjane Satrapi Persepolis

...Liberal Views in the Ruins of War in Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis To know one’s identity is to find the core aspects that make them who they are. This includes the positive and negative experiences that shapes one’s identity and strengthens those aspects. This idea leads to ponder, how one identifies themselves in such a structured society. In the novel Persepolis the author Marjane Satrapi express her life in an autobiographical graphic novel. She describes her experience of being brought up in war-torn Iran. Though it is her struggle to grow an identity as a liberal self during the revolution, will be concentrated. Living in the heat of a revolution Marji (name of main character) and her family were subjectively forced to liberate themselves from radical change. Their admiration was to find liberty. Writer Raymond Williams describes the word liberty as having this initial sense of freedom. Also considered as open-minded, which some political officials classify as unorthodox. This definition it practically true when referring to Persepolis. The start of the Islamic revolution brought about many restraint. Such as, the Islamic regime forcing female citizens to wear a veil (traditional head scarf). As a young girl Marji was did not understand the reason for wearing the veil. She goes on to illustrating the image of herself and other girls removing the veils and playing with them. However, her mother protested the veil believed to be a torment to their freedom. But, her......

Words: 1289 - Pages: 6

Role of Offred's Room in a Handmaid's Tale

...In the novel A Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood uses different descriptions of Offred’s room to illustrate the government’s control over her and her role in the society. She uses the room to allude to her situation almost because she is unable to explicitly state her discontent with her current conditions. Firstly, the author uses many similes, symbols and short sentence structures to emphasise the oppression and the totality of the control that the government has over Offred. She uses different objects in the room to symbolise Offred’s situation. While exploring her room, the narrator notices that “on the white ceiling… [there is] a blank space, plastered over, like the place in a face where the eye has been taken out.” (9) She also finds that “[the window] only opens partly” (9). The author uses the simile which compares the ceiling to a face without eyes, a result of the chandelier having been violently removed, to mirror how Offred is forced to be “blind” to the world. The government forces handmaids to wear wings around their face to prevent them from seeing and being seen. Offred and other handmaids thus cannot communicate and familiarise themselves with the world. They are powerless because they have no knowledge of the world; they cannot defend themselves against an unknown entity. The narrator uses this simile to imply that she is forced into being oblivious to her surroundings. Similarly, the author uses the window in Offred’s room as a symbol for her......

Words: 1488 - Pages: 6

How Far Do You Agree with the View ‘That Women Do Not Possess Innate Maternal Desires’? Compare and Contrast the Presentation of Motherhood in Top Girls with Atwood’s Presentation of Motherhood in the Handmaid’s Tale

...How far do you agree with the view ‘that women do not possess innate maternal desires’? Compare and contrast the presentation of motherhood in Top Girls with Atwood’s presentation of motherhood in The Handmaid’s Tale It could be argued that women possess innate maternal desires, however some would argue that women are socialised by their environment to be maternal. Churchill’s feminist play ‘Top Girls’ explores the idea of natural maternal instincts through characters such as Joyce and historical figures Lady Nijo and Patient Griselda. ‘Top Girls’ is set during Thatcher’s government and explores the role of motherhood, with an all female cast Churchill uses theatre of alienation and characterisation to constantly keep the audience aware that the play is not realistic, this technique is done purposely so the audience focus less on the plot and more on the political and social issues. Similar to the play, feminist author Atwood explores ideas of motherhood and how women treat each other within society through her cautionary tale; The Handmaid’s Tale, the fictive autobiographic novel presents characters such as Offred, Ofwarren and Serena Joy who all share problems with maternal identity. Most of the women presented in the texts have a desire to be a mother yet the societies they live within prevent them from successfully realising this desire. Top Girls is set in 1979 at the end of the decade and the beginning of Thatcher’s tenure. Marlene is representative of all of......

Words: 1769 - Pages: 8

Feminism in the Handmaid’s Tale

...The Handmaid’s Tale as an exploration of the ideas of feminism, the treatment of women, and the control of women’s bodies. Feminism in The Handmaid’s Tale. Women have been treated very poorly through the years and in the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale women have no control of their bodies, the treatment they get from other is terrible and there is no freedom. Offred the main character is presented in the novel has a handmaid who’s only propose in life is to have a baby with the commander. She lives in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian state that has replaced the United States of America. She like other women have no freedom and are only allowed to go for shopping trip, but still someone is always watching. Therefore in the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the women have limited rights, limited freedom and limited control of their bodies. The women in Gilead have no rights and have to listen to the rules or the consequences result in death, getting send to the colonies or become a prostitute at Jezebel’s. They don’t really have a choice they can be handmaids to the commander and his wife or become a prostitute at Jezebel’s, but it’s not really a choice thy only have two options. The women in Gilead have to do play their roles in the society and not complain about it. The roles include: Handmaids, Marthas, Econowives and the wives of the commander. Even in these society women don’t stick together there aren’t many friendships being made and the women are...

Words: 951 - Pages: 4


...Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s autobiography. It covers her childhood and teenage years in her hometown, Tehran; her experiences abroad while she studies at the French Lyceum in Austria; and her return to a country devastated by war and mistreated by the Regime. Therefore it is hardly surprising that the protagonist’s identity is formed at the crossroads of two cultures, the Western and the Eastern ones, without really belonging to either of them. Satrapi herself has stated that  “[she is] a foreigner in Iran. . . Nowhere is [her] home any more” (Tully, 2004) and this feeling of alienation is materialised throughout the work. Thus, Persepolisrevels in the middle-grounds between opposite stances, with images which are able to show the complexity both of the situation in her country and of the author’s personal life. One of the richest and most representative images may be this one:   Satrapi, Marjane (2006) Persepolis (London: Jonathan Cape, 283, 3) This image shows the picture that she had to draw to pass the exam for university, where she would study fine arts. She knew that, in the wake of Iran-Iraq war, when propaganda was overwhelming and 40 % of places were reserved for martyrs’and handicapped people’s children, one of the exam topics would be the martyrs’ representation. This image constitutes an interesting re-interpretation of both Christian and Muslim religious symbology. Thus, we can read, in the text box above, that: I practiced by copying a photo of......

Words: 832 - Pages: 4

Revolution's Effect on Women in Persepolis

...Bishant Baral Professor Dunnigan May 7, 2014 Persepolis: Final Exam From the beginning of Persepolis, one can come to the conclusion that Marjane has a very bright future ahead of her. Her curious and patriotic demeanor as a child matures and allows her to become a strong-minded woman during a time of great female oppression in Iran. For Marjane, the ideas of nationalism and patriotism had been a major part of her upbringing. The novel begins with ten year old Marjane in 1980. Although not a teenager yet, Marjane is forced to conform to the oppression and the various laws that specifically target women. Marjane's mother was a very opinionated individual who believed in equal rights. Her rebellious nature becomes an influence to Marjane as she begins to grow older and mature. Taji, Marjane's mother, is a passionate woman who is extremely disappointed with the things in Iran. She actively protests with others who are not happy with the elimination of women's rights and violent attacks on innocent people It began with schools becoming segregated by sex. The French school that Marjane once attended was no longer allowed in Iran. The revolution had begun to ban all sorts of western and European influences. For example, women were obliged to wear veils in public now. If a female was to be caught by the authorities without a veil on, they would be verbally abused and possibly even severely chastised. Moreover, a man and a woman were not allowed to be seen in public unless......

Words: 640 - Pages: 3

How Losing the Right to Own Possessions Contributes to the Loss of Identity in Margaret Atwood's ‘Handmaids Tale’ and Primo Levi's ‘If This Is a Man.’

...Primo Levi’s If this is a man, is a book about his personal experience at a concentration camp in poland during the second world war. It is very interesting but at the same time horrific because of what he had gone through. Margaret Atwood’s Handmaids Tale is a fictional novel about a woman living in a distopia in the near future. Their world is in that state because of nuclear war. The women who are able to give birth are called handmaids whose soul job is to give birth to children which aren’t theirs. It is also an interesting book but it does have a less realistic feeling to it. One of the main themes in If this is a man is the ‘demolition of a man.’ It is also a theme in The Handmaids Tale, but it is not discussed. During the rule of hitler, the regime would confiscate all of the prisoners possessions, which in my opinion could make them feel almost inhuman. Primo Levis character in this incredible story has a very strong personality. At one point he tells himself and believes that he has no chance of survival and he does not grasp on any chance of hope that comes along, compared to what many others did. He stays strong and is tries not to lose himself without any of his possessions etc. At first he is documenting exactly what happened to him, and gives no apparent emotion to what is happening. His use of the third person when describing events that occur and emotions make his writing more objective. He tells the reader that from what he has seen loss...

Words: 313 - Pages: 2

Totalitarianism’s Role in the Handmaid’s Tale

...Centered around the idea of repopulating the human population that was decimated by pollution and nuclear waste, the society seemed like a beacon of hope in a desolate world. People accepted the new society without much resistance only to later realize that they had been duped. The founders of Gilead took conservative ideas and implemented them to the extreme. Women’s rights are taken away. Reading is forbidden. Handmaids are introduced to bear children. The government takes over and a dystopia is born. They control almost every aspect of the people’s lives, down to the food that they consume. Though the totalitarian government of Gilead tries to break spirit of the women to control them and keep the people ignorant, it does not succeed in preventing the people from rebelling in their own small ways. The women are the key to the survival of Gilead. In order to ensure their survival, the founders of Gilead drew up a philosophy that they drilled into the women’s heads. They first broke down the women’s spirit by essentially re-educating them about what would now be accepted in society and would not be tolerated. "Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary" (Atwood 33). The Aunts drill this propaganda into the Handmaids’ heads to ensure that they will remember. This type of brain washing helped break down the Handmaids’ morals. Continuously being told that what they were being......

Words: 1512 - Pages: 7

Discuss How Atwood and Miller Explore the Theme of Oppression in the Handmaid’s Tale and the Crucible.

...The theme of oppression is constant throughout both The Handmaid’s Tale and The Crucible. Both show how religion can be twisted into a form of control in society and they show the huge detrimental and devastating effects this control can have. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible shows the horror and appalling nature of the Salem witch trials of 1692, but beneath this surface it shows the parallels to aspects in Miller’s own life at this period, with the idea of McCarthyism going out of control in America. McCarthyism was a result of the second red scare in America in the late 1940´s/1950’s. It was a fear driven movement that swept across the United States where the threat of a Communist world revolution seemed like a very real threat. In response to this branches of the government set up organisations such as HUAC (The House Un-American Activities Committee) to help fight Communism from infiltrating the state. Unfortunately in the end it simply led to a ´witch hunt´ in which people were brought to trial and accused of being communist, Miller amongst them. HUAC and McCarthyism were simply examples of how when those in power feel threatened they will do anything to maintain their position which is what Miller set out to show in The Crucible. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood took a different approach, with a dystopian text which shows a world in which women are heavily oppressed and religion is used as a tool to brainwash and control the population. Atwood has made a point of showing......

Words: 2479 - Pages: 10

Imagery and How It Relates Tot Characters Inner Feelings in Margret Atwood's Handmaids Tale

...IB LA HL Allee Devault Handmaids Tale Imagery Essay December 8, 2011 Imagery and how it relates to characters inner feelings in Margret Atwood’s Handmaids Tale The use of imagery is a staple in every novel; it gives a much needed visual connection with the themes stated in the novel. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood demonstrates the use of imagery to further solidify the reader’s comprehension of the tense relationship between the characters, Serena Joy and Offred. On page 153, Atwood describes a scene in which, Offred is coming back from the market, and comes upon Serena Joy working in her garden. As we know from previous dialogue in the book, Offred and Serena Joy do not have a very good relationship, (i.e. Serena Joy doesn’t speak to Offred unless she absolutely has to). In this scene, Atwood isolates the image of Serena Joy’s garden, using the type of flowers in the garden and their colors to express how the problematic aspects of the society affect the relationship between Serena Joy and Offred. Atwood states that there are many flowers in Serena Joy’s garden, yet the only flower she mentions by name is the Iris. Irises in many of cultures are viewed as symbols of messages from God, faith, hope, and bravery. In the society of Gilead, religion is the basis of existence. The idea that irises in some cultures are viewed as messages of God, the placement of the flower in Serena Joy’s garden represents how the relationship......

Words: 1057 - Pages: 5


...3101 The Harsh Realities of Life In Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi explores the realities of her native land. She begins the story as a intelligent young pre-teen with a promising future. As she grows older she sees how cold the world is outside of her homeland as she lives through a near self-destructing phase of her life. She is capable of catching herself in this free fall with the help and guidance of her family a little while after returning home. In the story, her country continuously is fighting from freedom all the while she’s searching for her own identity. Throughout the book there are various things going on that can alter an individual’s point of view in search of their identity. To understand clearly, I break down my research on topics concerning the government, religion, social classes, the history concerning the country and the educational requirements that need to be met in the Iranian society. My research consist of material from Marjane Satrapi’s book, Persepolis. “2500 years of tyranny and submission” as my father said. First our own emperors. Then the Arab invasion from the west. Followed by the Mongolian invasion from the east. And finally modern imperialism (Satrapi 11). In the views of her father, their country has always been fighting for freedom. Trying to escape oppression there is always a revolution on the rise as the position of power changes hands. Never the less written in a passage titled The Bicycle, Marjane Satrapi said “The revolution is......

Words: 2281 - Pages: 10

Oppression on Women in Margaret Atwood's the Handmaid's Tale and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis

...Oppression on Women in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, is memoir of a little girl growing in Iran. She refers to a secular pre revolutionary time through contrast, the oppressive characteristics of the fundamentalist government upon women in particular. Her work is a lot similar to Margaret Atwood's, A Handmaid’s Tale, in which the protagonist Offred reflects upon her former life’s freedom, cherishing her former name and in doing so emphasizes the cloistered and enslaved life that she must now endure. Although both Margaret Atwood and Satrapi show how a totalitarian state oppresses women in different ways by taking away the freedom to think and decide for oneself, both accentuating on the ways a woman should dress, which stratified society in Handmaid’s tale and enforced religious modesty in Persepolis. Growing up in the western society, we often think clothing as a means of expressing our individuality, our style, defining who we are. Offred grew up in a similar environment but it was taken away once she became a Handmaid. That was the precise reason why she felt “ fascinated but also repelled” (28) at the same time when she saw the Japanese tourist. She says she “used to dress like that. That was freedom. Westernized they used to call it”(28). She says this because she no longer gets to dress like the tourists any more. In a very little amount of time, the society has forced every individual to change...

Words: 960 - Pages: 4

0 Thoughts to “Persepolis Womens Oppression Essay

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *