What types of prejudice did the character mary jane(marji) face in the novel Persepolis when she moved to Austria?

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currerbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Marji faces a unique set of prejudices. Even though she is from an affluent family, while she lived in Iran, she was subjected to prejudices against women by the Iranian mullahs:

Your wife, who is your possession, is in fact, your slave," is the mullah’s legal view of women’s status. (2) The misogyny of the mullahs made women the embodiment of sexual seduction and vice. To protect the sexual morality of society, women had to be covered and banned from engaging in "immodest" activity. (3)

At age 14, Marji's family was able to send her to be educated in Europe. But when she went to France, she encountered a different set of prejudices. Marji recalls:

"When I arrived in France, I met many people who expected me to speak Arabic. So many Europeans do not know the difference between Arabs and Iranians. They don’t know anything of our centuries-old culture. They seem to think Iran has always been a country of religious fundamentalists, thatIranian women either have no place in our society or that they are hysterical black crows. In fact, Iranian women are not downtrodden  weeds: my mother’s maid has kicked out her husband, and I myself  slapped so many men who behaved inappropriately  in the street. And even during the worst period of the Iranian Revolution, women were carrying weapons." 


In Austria, she encountered similar prejudices:

"Ah... Khomeini, ah ... the ayatollahs, the veil.... I could read it in their faces. I even went as far as denying my nationality”, Marjane admits. “For a while I said that I was French but I was young and stupid”, she excuses herself. 

Read the study guide:
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

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