Persepolis and Cultural Globalization

Persepolis is an animated French film, which follows the life of Marjane Satrapi from her tumultuous childhood growing up in Iran after the 1979 Iranian Revolution to her struggles to find herself in Europe to her difficult return home. It recounts her struggles to adapt to the new political and ideological systems put in place as Iran becomes and Islamic republic under Ayatolla Khomeini. Prior to the change she lived in a very westernized household where she was exposed to Western culture such as ABBA, Western films and blue jeans.

The film symbolizes the increasing effects of cultural globalization. For example, provides a non-westernized view of the Iran-Iraq war. The film adheres to the idea of globalization in that it contests dominant images and narratives of history. Since the story is told from the perspective of a young Iranian girl, it offers a unique perspective outside that of western news organizations and even outside non-western media such as Iranian news or propaganda.

The entire subject matter of the movie is very culturally globalized. From a young age, Marji’s life is very culturally “global”, as evident by the media she is exposed to, and her opinions on the United States. Marji’s character wears a Michael Jackson pin, listens to Iron Maiden, and is often sporting a denim jacket. It is evident that Marji is experiencing cultural globalization to her lure to Western cultural commodities.

Cultural globalization is defined by Mirrlees as, “face-to-face and mediated interactions between people from many different countries, the exposure of people to values and ideas other than their own, the mixing of these values and ideas, and the means by which ‘ways of life’ are changing and hybridizing as result of these integrative processes” (38). While the film presents first-hand account of life in Iran, the point of view is coming from a person who is heavily influenced by Western culture. Does this create a tainted narrative? It is obvious that cultural globalization has an influence on Satrapi’s story. It is an interesting look at how cultural globalization and media combine to create a new form of cultural globalization…if that makes any sense.

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