The first meeting of The New Bedford Feminist Reading Group happened this past Saturday, Jan. 14 – and it promptly traveled back to Tehran, circa 1979. As its first text to read and discuss, reading group member Ann Richard chose “Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood.”
A terrific pick, the award-winning graphic novel was also transformed into an equally gripping animated French film. It follows the journey of Marjane Satrapi and is a “memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution,” according to the publisher’s website. “In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.”
The pick not only presents one woman’s incredible journey but also embodies the ethos of The New Bedford Feminist Reading Group. An all-gender affair, ‘Persepolis’ is so powerful a story that it has helped erase boundaries and bridge understanding between sexes and cultures. As testament to that fact, submitted for your perusal is this YouTube video of the Top Ten Graphic Novels of all time. You’ll find ‘Persepolis’ in the midst of a testosterone-heavy list which includes the Watchmen and Batman.
Joining the Reading Group
Just over a dozen men and women attended the first meeting of The New Bedford Feminist Reading Group. The group is the inspiration of performance artist Andy Anello of The Ropeworks artist condominium here in the city.
Andy facilitated the first meeting and the group collectively established some simple precedents. Everyone attending threw their names into a jar. Picked out one-by-one, the order detonates the member choosing the work to be read. Or, the film to be screened, as it was decided all forms of media relating to feminist thought fall within the purview of the group. A bookshelf devoted to feminism will also find a home in Groundwork!’s new community library.
The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 3:00pm. Then, members will discuss ‘Persepolis’ among themselves and maybe you – and learn the next project the group will pursue together.
That will be chosen by yours truly – and suggestions are welcome! Otherwise, the policy wonk in me will suggest a re-reading of the ground-breaking National Plan of Action from the historic National Women’s Conference held in Houston back in ’77. Feel free to email me at NewBedfordNow@gmail.com with other ideas. And also feel free to join The New Bedford Feminist Reading Group by e-mailing organizer Andy Anello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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