This year, we have decided to feature the best writers from our writer community for their committed contribution to FII, making it what it is today. FII would not exist if not for the passionate and loyal feminist writer community that we have steadily been building over the last three years. This month, we feature Poonam Singh, who joined the FII team nearly at its inception, and has published 15 articles so far. Her hard-hitting pieces deconstruct the sexism that underlies most current events and she manages to articulate just what was bothersome about that latest film in her scathing film reviews. Her pieces on honour and women’s bodies and Bharat Mata were insightful and educational, and have received a lot of appreciation from our readers.
So without further ado, let’s meet the writer herself!
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
PS: I am a teacher by profession. I spend the major part of my day teaching my students and in turn, learning from them. I’m also currently a student of women’s and gender studies.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
PS: Around the time Japleen founded FII, I’d been writing feminism oriented stuff on my personal blog and we’d discussed some of it. She asked me if she could cross-post my articles form time to time and I happily agreed. Of late I’ve been writing exclusive pieces for FII.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
PS: I believe every girl is born a feminist. How could anyone be up for suppression of his/her rights in the name of gender? There have been moments in most girls’ lives when we have been made to feel small, be it for clothing or laughing too loud or being out of the house beyond a certain hour. It is natural to rebel against these impositions- and in these struggles against injustice, a feminist is born! Coming from a small town, belonging as I do to a conservative family, I have watched closely the struggles of my aunts and cousins and certainly that has moulded my outlook. At the same time I take heart from the way these and countless other women face up to these everyday challenges and negotiate with families and society, and struggle and keep their heads held high, at all times. Yet I cannot deny I am also privileged due to my background. Belonging to an urban middle class, upper caste family has granted me a huge headstart in life which most Indians can’t dream of. I think we need to do more to amplify the voices of the most marginalized people, regardless of gender, the poor and the homeless.
FII: What is your favourite piece on this site that you have written, and your favourite piece on this site that you have read? Why did they strike you?
PS: I find it cringe-inducing to read my own writing once I’m done with a piece. However this particular piece is close to my heart as it talks to men and how they need feminism too. Indeed if we want a better world in future, we must have men on our side.
A piece in FII which I really liked was one which discussed all the sides to the abortion debate. I’d been looking to read up more on the topic and this was a well balanced and informative article.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
PS: I run away to the mountains, to the serenity and the peace in which to think through my own thoughts, to take long leisurely walks and to read.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
PS: I love your platform for the creative campaigns you run, your activism and the varied, youthful, energetic voices you bring to the fore. More inter sectionalism, would be more welcome. More Dalit Bahujan voices, even if you are only amplifying them, and of course more LGBTQI, but also from the not-so-affluent sections, would be something I’d love to see.
FII thanks Poonam for lending her support and perspective to our magazine. You can read more of her work here and follow her on Twitter @SanskariStree. To become a part of our writer community, click here.