I am creating a comic book that portrays my life growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The story revolves around my experiences as a young girl and offers a heartfelt reflection of my childhood. The comic introduces the character Mahnaz, a representation of myself, through vivid illustrations. These illustrations capture significant moments, such as my first day of elementary school, which had a profound impact on me and shaped my views on education.
As the women's empowerment movement gained momentum in Iran, I felt compelled to express my life experiences and emotions through illustration. The comic serves as a window into the life of a woman growing up in a country governed by religious authorities, providing a unique perspective on the challenges and triumphs faced along the way.
Iran has long struggled with deeply ingrained gender inequality and discrimination against women, intricately woven into its legal framework. The Islamic Penal Code severely restricts women's rights, resulting in a system characterized by gender apartheid. Women face inequalities in areas such as marriage, divorce, custody, and inheritance. Additionally, the mandatory hijab laws enforced from puberty further limit women's freedoms.
Tragically, in the autumn of 2022, nationwide protests erupted in Iran following the death of Mahsa Jina Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died while in police custody. Her arrest for not adhering to strict hair-covering regulations served as the catalyst for these protests. The demonstrations resulted in the loss of numerous lives, including innocent children, at the hands of Iranian authorities.
It is with deep sorrow that I share these events, aiming to raise awareness about the challenges faced by women in Iran. Through my comic book, I seek to convey the resilience and strength of women despite the adversities they endure.
Author and Illustrator:
Mahnaz Rastgoumoghaddam

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