Free or Not so Free Speech

The media covers the Arab spring protestors with their names, personal attributes about them, and a full write up on why they are protesting yet when a female protests, she is not referred to personally; not even by name; but referred to minute aspects such as “the woman with the blue bra” are one female protestor was called as the media caught a woman when he blue bra showed when as she was struggling to get free from the police. Arab spring is valued greater than female protestors because men are deemed to have more power and diction that could make a change during protests. Not to say women don’t have power; compared to men; men are taken more seriously and demand attention in society.

The book and film, Persepolis, was banned because of international controversial issues in the book such as religion, politics, and the revolution/war. 79% believe religion is a private matter. Yet many, 49% trust the Islamist party… (107). this large percentage who believes religion is private was probably upset at the drawn figure of God and at the book as a whole whose main topic is religious identity with the main character struggling with her relationship with God and what that means to her. Just shy of half trust the Islamist party which is enough to cause a ban of the book with the revolution against the Shah and Ayatollah and standing up for the wrong teachings has gone on. Right behind religion on controversial issues is politics. Although there is free speech, how much of it is really free? Satrapi did not break any laws writing this novel on her life; speaking on issues majority of people have a hard time publicly talking about sparked this feud. The way she used the comic strip, child narrator voice and depicts war/ more horrific scenes in a childlike manner, one would think that would soften the impact of significance she was talking about.

Persepolis matters to me because it gives women of color power and shows the struggles of an international girl growing up; that her life and struggles are not much different than ours. Satrapi wrote these texts to defy stereotypes of an Islamic Iran, which is limited to fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism (105). It is not often women of color are the main character of a book that has sold successfully; that means a lot to me as a woman of color. For people of other cultures who are on the outside looking in with their opinions and stigmas about how life is in another part of the world; most of the time based merely on things they see on the news or television that is not 100% accurate; this book created a portal into another country and showed 80% of Marjane’s life which displayed distinct times in her life where people feel the most alone when they are not: how teenagers are all the same; they want to venture out, try new things, wear different styles of clothes and listen to music; everyone tries to fit in or find where they belong, especially with friends, and how being modern is international, not subject to Western ideas. I gravitated to Marjane’s character when she was trying to make friends and see where she fit in at the boarding school. I felt this way at SPU when trying to see what group I fit in and who I could be friends with.


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