Silencing the Outcast

Fadwa's story matters because there are many other people like her whose stories go untold simply because they do not contain the extremities needed to gain attention from the media. If you are in the middle east peacefully protesting a corrupt government, the media is not going to pay attention. They want something that can headline, something like lighting yourself on fire. What shakes me the most is not the fact that she lit herself on fire, but that no one attempted to help her out. It is sad that this mom had to feel driven to such extreme measures in order to finally gain some recognition for her dire living situations. It just goes to show we need to pay attention to more than just what the media is showing us because we are living in ignorance otherwise.

I believe Persepolis was censored because of some of the material in the book that would be controversial in a Muslim society. For one, she openly defies the veil they are required by law to wear. Whenever she gets the chance, she will take it off and even in public she will wear it strategically so that she is showing more of her hair, protesting against the use of it while still keeping her life. Secondly, she openly speaks about her sexual promiscuity during her time in the European culture. In Iranian culture, a woman is supposed to remain a virgin until she is married, and only then is she supposed to have sex. Women who have sex before marriage will be considered harlots or unclean. I am not quite sure if this rule applies to men as well... I seriously doubt it. This is not the type of Iranian woman that Iran would want to gain any influence. One who openly speaks against government mandated dress codes, one who supports women having a voice in a patriarchal society, one who explores the feminine body and all it has to offer despite her upbringing. Who knows? She might actually influence women to stand up and refuse to take the oppression of the Iranian government anymore. The government's response is censorship.

An aspect of Persepolis that matters to me is her sense of not belonging anywhere. When she grew up in Iran, Satrapi blended in just fine because that is all she knew. She was accustomed to the ways of life there and even though she protested against certain ways of that culture, such as the use of the veil and the reign of the shah, she belonged. Then everything changed once she was sent to Austria and had to choose between her Iranian culture and European culture. She started to wear punk clothes, call herself French, sleep with different guys, party it up every weekend: living la vida loca. After a while, this lifestyle took a toll on her so she returned to Iran only to find that she was now an outcast in that society as well. On a much smaller scale, I have felt that way myself. Growing up with my family, their way of life was completely normal to me. I had to gather up the courage to ask them to hang out with a friend and if it was less than 2 days in advance, you could forget it because my dad needed more notice than that. I was stuck at home most of the time doing chores, homework, or practicing piano. Whenever I was not at home I was at either school or church. I started to rebel once I got my own car and gained more freedom, then I went off to college. I never felt like I truly belonged at SPU. I did not break into the inner circle of dorm life so I became a social outcast. I liked to drink, smoke pot, have sex and all that jazz. Sure I had a boyfriend of 2 years but at SPU, that did not matter. Then I would go back home and find that I did not belong there anyone either. I had to hide certain aspects of my life from them and found myself drifting away until I was finally completely cut off and alone. This was just a few days ago. I am now 100% without parental help and I am still trying to figure out who I am, where I belong, and how to be accepted. So the reason this aspect matters so much to me is because I am there.

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