If I Were a BoyFebruary 13, 2015

International Women's Day, which is held on March 8, highlights the discrimination against women around the world. The focus is on womenfolk in patriarchal societies, and Marjane Satrapi would come to mind.

Satrapi, a graphic novelist and children book's author, came from a middle-class family in Tehran. They were considered part of the well-to-do populace in the Iranian capital, disenchanted at the the monarchy of the last shah of Iran. But they were intimidated by the fundamentalists who took over. Except the young girl. Her parents feared her rebellion would get them into trouble, so they arranged for her to study abroad. She ended up living in France.

"Persepolis" was well received after its publication. Satrapi's life was depicted without any censorship. Some would see the humor, which was guising the sensitive issues that the author contended most of her life.

"The basic problem of a country like mine is the patriarchal culture that is leading my country. That is the worst. That is why the government is still there. Whatever it touches, it gives its interpretation of the thing. When it touches psychology it says that the woman is more sensitive than the man. When it touches the medicine it says that our brain is a little less weight than the man’s," she said.

The animated feature, which was based from the graphic novel, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 2007 Academy Awards.

The awful truth

International Women's Day raises the issue of gender inequality in many countries. It would be safe to say that the more economically developed countries (MEDC) don't have any of it. But have you wondered what could be the possible reasons? Not that we should be aware of it, even be concerned on people living thousands of miles away. Here are the causes:

Tradition. As Satrapi illustrated in "Persepolis", traditional communities like Iran dictate women to be less assertive. This means taking care of the household and the children. But such situation have given rise to abuse in many cases. Many would condemn such a thing. (Deepa Mehta's "Fire" was about a relationship of two women, whose husbands didn't treat them right. The female filmmaker received harsh criticism for her work, but the international community saw it differently.)

Resistance to change. We only need to look up and see the clouds moving. Slowly. We can compare this phenomenon to what is happening in our world during the past centuries. Some societies are perceptive to change, while retaining some of the customs that define them. Others would cling to the old ways. Another set of problems.

Gender equality. Some men don't favour this because they are raised to believe that men are better than women. But Satrapi would point out that women are no better than men. (Maybe it's a case of fear.)

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