Persepolis and Beauty

I chose the global issue of Art, Creativity and Imagination. I was most attracted to this global issue because of a key term included in its description – “beauty”. I find beauty to be a highly subjective and elusive concept to grasp, yet it is something that plays a major role in our human society. It intrigues me to beauty is so powerful yet has no substantial purpose. At the same time, I wanted to analyse the excerpt of Persepolis, and because it is a graphic novel, it seems fitting to examine how the artist portrayed characters aesthetically.

The artistic style reflects that the artist clearly doesn’t care about beauty in this excerpt of Persepolis. As evidenced by the lack of facial details, crude perspectives and cartoonish figures, the artist is not actively trying to make its objects seem “beautiful”. All characters appear similar. In panels 1-4, none of the girls are portrayed as unique. Each one of the characters have similarly shaped eyes, almost identical nose and mouth. The artists intent in this excerpt was likely just to symbolize the characters or expressions and not to make them aesthetically pleasing.

The artist also intentionally makes choices that eliminate the demonstration of beauty. To caricature beauty in people, the most potent ways to do it is to draw detailed hair, facial expressions and figure. In panels 1-4, none of the women show their hair or figure as a result of their donned chador. This intentional portrayal of the women is another one that excludes beauty.

Beauty is important, stereotypically especially with women. The artistic choice to reduce beauty in this excerpt of Persepolis is one that reflects the reality of women in Iran, where women were mandated to wear chadors that veil their beauty. This graphic novel is in English and aimed towards Western audiences. It’s obscuration of beauty is in stark contrast with the prominence of beauty in Western graphics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *