Persepolis Critical Essay

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In Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel, Persepolis, she discusses a component of her years spent growing up in Iran. This component was the veil that women and girls were required to wear to keep men from “becoming aroused.” Satrapi shows us some of the complexities surrounding the veil. In today’s society, there are many “veils” that we live under, both literally and metaphorically. Satrapi brings up some questions about the veil, such as ‘why did the women have to wear it?’ Satrapi has drawn a fundamentalist man on a TV saying, “Women’s hair emanates rays that excite men. That’s why women should cover their hair!” Because of this backward thought process and the rules of the Islamic religion, women were forced to wear a veil; men had to wear long-sleeved shirts to cover up their arms. To show opposition, some women would let a few strands of hair show and would wear a long dress or jacket, with pants. More religious women wore a “chador” which covered their entire body shapelessly. The veil’s impact on women’s lives was enormous. They became more sheltered and relied on their husbands and fathers more to direct them. Some women were involved in demonstrations during which they could get beaten for not wearing a veil. If a woman was seen without a scarf, she could be beaten and raped, or arrested and tortured. Women became terrified to leave their homes without their veil on, and they’d even wear it to go into their yards. There is an illustration of a demonstration in which women are being beaten with clubs and stabbed for not wearing their veils. Women wore the veil for two main reasons: 1. their husbands/fathers/brothers forced them to wear it and 2. They were afraid of the outcomes of not wearing a veil. Some women supported wearing the veil because they shared the fundamentalist view. Satrapi shows her opposition by portraying these women with eyes

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