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mpottash's picture

"Feminist Politics" and Persepolis

In reading, Martin and Mohanty's article about the politics of home, I was reminded of Persepolis and the role of home in the novel, particularly the role of Iran.  Persepolis focuses a great deal on the history of politics of Iran; it is almost as if Iran itself is a character in the novel.  If it were not for Iran and the political situations that the novel covers, Satrapi would not have had the same experiences.  Thus, it seems that for Satrapi, the concept of Iran and all of the elements that go with it, are crucial.  Martin and Mohanty write that Pratt's narrative "politicizes the geography, demography, and architecture of [her]communities" (195).  All of these things make up the communities in which Pratt lived, and effect the notion of home.  Similarly, many different components make up Iran for Satrapi and for the novel - the religious, and political, the cultural, even the geographic.  We, and Satrapi, cannot think about Iran, and as Iran as home, without considering all of these elements.  Martin and Mohanty also write that "geography, demography, and architecture...serve to indicate the fundamentally relational nature of identity" (196).  For Satrapi, it sees that her identity is at times firmly rooted in the fact that she is from Iran.  While she is abroad in Europe, she is considered a "third worlder".  Also, the fact that she has lived in Iran under the social and cultural pressures of the fundamentalist regime have given her a strong sense of self and the ability to stand up for what she believes in.  These aspects of Satrapi's identity are firmly bound up in the notion of Iran as home.

On a completely different note, Martin and Mohanty's article made me think of Bryn Mawr and our discussions of what it means to be a women's college today.  At the end of the article, Martin and Mohanty write, "Community, then, is the product of work, of struggle; it is inherently unstable, contextual; it has to be constantly reevaluated in relation to critical political priorities; and it is the product of interpretation...".  At Bryn Mawr, we have a community.  This community is in large part based on the fact that it is a single-sex community.  But what does this mean, especially as we move forward into the 21st century?  Does being a women's college make us exclusionary?   Is it a means of repression?  Or is that fact that it is a women's college a way to combat repression?  What does a community mean, and does that change if it is a community of women?

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