Tuesday, March 24, 2009

my first post, my fave book

well, i really didn't know how i would feel about this boook. and the only kind of "graphic novel" i have ever read is foxtrot and calvin and hobbes. but upon reading the first several pages on the train to purdue over break, i was hooked. it really changed my perspective on anything i ever knew about iran and really broadened my understanding on the history of the revolution. also, one something that really didn't get discussed-  lily posed this- was on p. 156. lily brought up the symbolism of capitalism, the other girl- shirin being a symbol of capitalism- selfish and petty almost, as another country- iran (as marjane) views her. i thought this was a very interesting a valid point that was discussed right over in class, seeing as how marjane, as another country, had endured hardship and much troubles. marjane is very troubled by all the dying she faces in iran and is upset when shirin is merely chatting about her scented pens. i thought it was really cool when lily loosely tied this to capitalism. anyone else agree? also, who else agrees with me on the finding it semi-okay to allow marjane to marry reza even knowing she would divorce him, on her father's part? (sorry, i phrased that poorly).. i know i wrote far too much, but then again, i have never blogged and there is a lot to say on this! 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Graphic Writing

When I first opened this book, I was pretty excited to start to read since I have never even seen this writing style before. At first I could not connect with the book because, unfortunately, I did not know much about this issue. However, after getting knee deep in the reading, I thought that I could connect with Marji. Not because I went through anything even close to what she experience but I have also felt out of place and trying to fit in even when I knew my family would be disappointed with the person I was fighting to be. I was so proud of her when she finally got out of this stage of "caring". I think she then started to become some one she was more proud of.

In the end, I was kind of upset for her that her marriage did not work out because she seemed to have such a hard time finding love so I was really cheering for her when she first found him at the party. Nevertheless, I was happy to see that she went back to Europe to become the independent woman that we all knew she was from the time she was young.

End of Persepolis

I really enjoyed the end of Persepolis. I really like how she shows us her discontent for living in Iran and how sexist the University is pertaining to the women's dress and moral codes. I think she portrayed her husband's faults in a really good way so as to not put all the blame on him for their failed marriage-they simply were not compatible, even though they complemented each other because they were opposites. This is a perfect example of opposites who do not work! I was a bit surprised that her father foresaw the divorce but encouraged the marriage in order to serve as a life lesson that you shouldn't jump into a marriage too young. I also thought it was neat how her grandmother was not judgmental or condemning about her divorce, rather, her grandmother made the same mistakes as Marji. I thought it was really cool how progressive her parents were, and that not all Iranians are super conservative, as the media portrays them to be. I definitely thought she ended the book on a good note by leaving her family again and going to Europe to live as an independent woman, as her mother and father always dreamed for her. I wonder if there are many Iranian families who are this progressive and considerate of their daughters? Probably so, but I am completely ignorant on the subject concerning Iranian families and their cultural upbringings.

In Between

In this section of the reading, Satrapi deals with feeling stuck in between two worlds. The guilt she feels for the so-called suffering she endured in Austria cannot compare with the warfare and executions that prisoners and people in Iran dealt with. It is hard to see Satrapi encounter this gulf between her selves, and this becomes especially apparent when she sees her old friends who now wear make-up and are concerned about their appearances. At this point, I both agree with Satrapi, and feel like she has a very condescending view of people who are not as dedicated and aware of their surroundings as she is. For some people, it is easier to forget and ignore the hard times around them then to try and fight them on a day to day basis. I feel like this is one of the many points where Satrapi may be hard to identify with, but at the same time her point about the changing views of the young people around her is important. By focusing on inane things like night clubs and make-up, these women are ignoring the oppression of the fundamentalist regime around them.


I was skeptical when I first saw the book Persepolis because it looked hard to read, but I am really liking the style of the graphic novel. I especially like how she interjects so much humor and life into her writing and pictures. The way she is raised within the tumultous environment of Iran allows her the opportunity to understand the revolution and war from a different perspective even as a child. Even though Marjane obviously comes from a wealthy family since she has a servant and a cadillac, she still faces the same gender limitations under the fundamentalist regime. Not only must she wear a veil in public because of her gender, she also faces the threat of the punishment that Niloufar had. Marjane's parents see that her life as a woman will lead her to be in trouble with the authorities, and proactively send her to be educated in Vienna. The perception that we as Western/Christian women often have of Iranian and other middle eastern women is obviously very different from how they actually live. For example, the posters, sneakers and jeans that Marjane loves would be in conflict with the stereotypical submissive veil wearing Muslim women that we often see in the media. But, it is true that the gender role that Marjane is able to portray in private is very different from the one that is acceptable in public which shows the limited scope for gender expression that women have in Iran.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An Unconventional Family

I thought that this book was really interesting and I still don't know how I feel about their relationship. I think Sandy and Daryl were very progressive for their time and really did make a good attempt at an egalitarian marriage. What I found most interesting how they raised Emily and Jeremy. It can't imagine, even today, attempting to raise a gender-liberated doll with the excessive amount of gender-stereotyped advertising that children are exposed to. Sandy exposing Emily to examples of women in men in untraditional career roles, like the female construction worker, trying to sensor the books, and not distinguishing between heterosexual and homosexual relationships were good ideas and would seem to be very beneficial. If I ever have children I want to raise them as gender-liberated as possible, but I don't think I would let my son go to school with barrettes in his hair because I wouldn't want my child to be made fun of. 

I also think it is sort of strange that Sandy and Daryl would promote or condone accepting nudity in their home so their children would be exposed to and I don't think it is appropriate to kiss your child's vagina to prove that you are raising them as gender-liberated. It is not about people being too focused on child sexual abuse or pornography... I don't think it's right to show children that is okay when if they were to do that to other children or grow up in a society where that is illegal but they don't know it-they could be arrested or violate someone else's person space. 

I fully believe in civil disobedience and rebelling especially against this oppressive patriarchal society, but I don't think gender liberation has anything to do with telling children that nudity and kissing private body parts are okay, when in the real world, they could get in serious trouble for that. There is a point where you have to draw the line, and while you don't like society and its structure, you have to live in it, and you're not going to change everyone's thoughts right away so I don't think its appropriate to make children think that is appropriate when in society it isn't. At least you can teach your children that everyone else thinks that is wrong, and let them critically think about how they feel about that- children are often underestimated, but they do have the ability to think about things like that and make up their own mind. That would truly be liberation. 

On a different note, I think that feminist books and cartoons which promote gender-liberation are good for children and while my sister thinks I'm nuts, my nephews really like these cartoons called "Free to Be Me..." and one episode is about William's Doll which Sandy mentions on page 106. I started showing my nephews this because my youngest nephew who is 4 years old like to play Barbies with our 4 year old girl cousin, but his older brother and the 4 year old girl cousin always teased him for playing with Barbies and I wanted to make sure they knew that it was okay for him to play with dolls if he wanted to so I showed them this cartoon. I posted it below. There are actually a lot of these good cartoons which promote equality between the sexes and even though they are from the 70s little kids still like them!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

End of An Unconventional Family

Okay, so I was kind of disappointed with the end of this book. I thought she took things more slowly in the beginning, explaining and providing details on her unconventional family. By the middle to end, Sandy rushed things and became more impersonal, which I think correlates to her declining marriage. Speaking of her marriage, I was waiting for the part about she and her husband getting divorced and becoming involved in a same-sex relationship. She brisked over this part and maybe mentioned it in a sentence or two. If Lily had not mentioned it in class, I probably wouldn't have noticed that she became involved with a woman.

Certain things were just odd to me. Namely, her two year old daughter asking her to kiss her clitoria, and then when she actually does it. If a father kissed his son's penis, some serious questions would be raised. Also, Sandy acts like her two-year old is so knowledgeable about the female body and sex in general, which I definitely don't buy. This must be some really sophisticated two-year-old.

I liked the question-and-answer section with her son and daughter. I know I'm just reading into it too much, but it kind of irritated me how she put her son's questions before her daughter's, even though her daughter was born first, AND, his section seemed to be longer. Out of the the four, I liked the son the best, because he appeared more neutral and balanced compared to the others. I liked how he gave simple answers to his mom's questions, especially the one when she asks, "Is this affection with guys part of being gay?" and he replies, "I mentioned a girl earlier. You didn't ask then if I was describing myself as straight." She also seemed to idolized her son because he was a "mathematical genius" with a "poet's soul," (taken in my words) essentially. She obviously loves her daughter, but she dwells on her son's gifts and talents too much, paired with his "feminine personality traits," making him appear inhuman.
She seems really hung up on supporting gays in general, and denouncing heterosexual relationships. As for her daughter, she just sounded strange to me. I couldn't get past the image of her wearing bikini bottoms without shaving. Though, I will say, I thought the children inherited Daryl's gentle demeanor, which is definitely a good thing. I would also say that they don't need to "flaunt" or "force" their feminist status, like their mother.

Overall, I thought Sandy captured the reader's attention, but I was lost when she started talking about her failed attempt at being tenured at Stanford, and everything seemed to be written in a drier tone and more formal, like in the Whiteness book. My real complaint is not getting more personal, and that Daryl proved to be passive, as predicted. In all honesty, I don't see the appeal of her idea of an egalitarian marriage.

Well, I've obviously written too much, though there is plenty of good and bad points about this book.