The memoir of Tāj us-Saltanih occupies a privileged place in the growing scholarship on Iranian life narratives as both a precursor of Iranian women’s life writing and an early feminist text. This article reads Tāj’s memoir against the historical backdrop of the early twentieth-century nationalist movement in Iran. It argues that Tāj’s alleged feminism is rooted in the nationalist and modernist agendas of Constitutional Iran (1906–1911) as well as the discourses of racial inferiority emerging out of imbalances of power in the East/West relations to which she was exposed in her textual encounter with the West. By bringing the memoir into dialogue with the wider literary and social atmosphere of its time, this article sheds light on the various ideologies and discourses that shaped the Iranian women’s movement of the Constitutional era and informed the early stages of the problematic relationship between Western and Iranian feminisms.