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 from. Marjane, her mother, and her grandmother all unite under the shared experience of Iranian women – they must all suffer through their country’s systemized oppression together.
Marjane is incredibly close with her grandmother. Throughout the novel, she approaches her grandmother for advice and always seeks her approval. When Marjane wishes to get a divorce, her grandmother encourages her independence: “…the day you don’t want it anymore, you leave him! When a tooth is rotten, you have to pull it out!” (335) Marjane’s grandmother is a strong representation of female independence and identity; she supports Marjane’s romantic relationships, but does not want her to rely on men for happiness. She gives Marjane advice even during her childhood: “In life you’ll meet a lot of jerks. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it’s because they’re stupid… Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself” (150). In many ways, Marjane idolizes her grandmother; she serves as Marjane’s moral compass and scolds her when she acts without “Integrity!” (293). She always reminds Marjane of the sacrifices made in Iran’s fight for human rights and justice.
Marjane’s mother also greatly influences her life, shaping her beliefs and ideals. Like...
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