Study Guide

Persepolis Women and Femininity

By Marjane Satrapi

Women and Femininity Quotes

Chapter 1

Then came 1980: the year it became obligatory to wear the veil at school. (1.4)

One thing that's important to note is that only women wear the veil. The boys' clothes change, but they're never as restrictive as a veil. Couldn't they at least make the boys wear a propeller beanie or something?

Chapter 10
Marjane's Mother

"[Marji] should start learning to defend her rights as a woman right now!" (10.32)

Marji gets a lot of her feminist nature from her mother. If her mother was the type of person to wear the veil and force Marji into wearing it also, without having a discussion about how wrong she felt it was, Marji would be a different person. Heck, we probably wouldn't have this book were it not for her mother's influence.

Marjane

I wanted to be an educated, liberated woman. And if the pursuit of knowledge meant getting cancer, so be it. (10.14)

Marji really wants to be independent, even if—like Marie Curie —she does so at the expense of her health. As we've said a few times, freedom always comes at a price, even if we're talking about the freedom that comes with gender equality.

"They insulted me. They said that women like me should be pushed up against a wall and f***ed and then thrown in the garbage." (10.19)

This traumatic experience happens to Marji's mother because she's not wearing a veil. Iran decides to let the rapists win—instead of punishing these men, their solution is to repress women further, and make them all veil their bodies. By doing this, they are also saying that all men are rapists who cannot control their urges. Neither sex wins when this attitude prevails.

Chapter 12

"Soon, it won't just be food. With all those sluts out there, we're going to have to watch our husbands." (12.42)

Whoa. Persepolis just got real, y'all, turning into an episode of the Bad Girls Club. It's incredible how fast the women of Iran turn against each other, referring to other women as sluts for no reason other than to shame them and humiliate them in public.

Chapter 13

"They told him that in Paradise there will be plenty of food, women, and houses made of gold and diamonds."

"Women?"

"Yeah. Well, he's fourteen years old. That's exciting." (13.39-13.41)

The government uses women as a propaganda tactic to lure boys into war. All this really does is reinforce to the boys of Iran that women are no more than property. More than ever, we need Destiny's Child to remind all the independent women to throw their hands up at us.

Chapter 19
Marjane's Mother

"It's against the law to kill a virgin, so a guardian of the revolution marries her and takes her virginity before executing her. Do you understand what that means??" (19.19-19.21)

The implications of this are insane. It further illustrates how much women are considered property, objects to be used by the men of Iran. It also helps explain why Marji's mother is super-protective of her daughter. As women, Marji and her mom have more to fear in Iran than men do. It's a dangerous place for women.

Chapter 22
Marjane

Simone [de Beauvoir] explained that if women peed standing up, their perception of life would change. […] As an Iranian woman, before learning to urinate like a man, I needed to learn to become a liberated and emancipated woman. (22.22, 22.23)

Standing up and peeing like a man is a purely symbolic act for Marjane to recognize her independence. It doesn't actually do anything except get her leg all wet. It does, however, help her to realize that she needs to take concrete actions to assert herself.

Chapter 29
Marjane

From the moment I arrived at the Mehrabad airport and caught sight of the first customs agent, I immediately felt the repressive air of my country. (29.1)

That repressive air is heightened by the fact that all the woman, including Marjane, have to wear the veil. It's hard to read.

Chapter 31

"What's the difference between you and a whore???" (31.24)

Marjane has some great friends: Despite wanting to be "liberated" women, they judge Marjane and her sexuality. How hypocritical. We can only imagine what they'd think of Miley at the 2013 VMAs

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