This year, we have been featuring 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 Shruti Saxena.
It was on Shruti’s suggestion and direction that the Mental Health section of this website was born. We are eminently grateful for that suggestion since mental health has become an important topic of focus for us and for our readers, many of whom have written to us with their personal struggles and learnings from mental illness. Since June 2016, Shruti also took over the mantle of Editor of the Mental Health section and has curated as well as personally written articles for the section, making it vibrant and diverse.
Shruti has written about toxicity in one’s life, emotional hygiene, postpartum depression, and medicating mental illnesses – resourceful pieces that delve into ways of self-care. She has also written personal narratives, on morning sadness, on death in the family, and the power of virtual friendships. Her pieces juxtapose deeply personal experience upon larger life learnings, and are soulful and insightful.
So without further ado, let’s meet our featured writer of the month – Shruti Saxena!
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
SS: Hi! I currently live in Chicago, work with a school district focusing on operations and data related to workforce development, training and compliance. I have a background in Economics and International Development. I’ve lived in several cities across India (parent in Army) including Nagaland and those were formative experiences that I was only grateful for in retrospect. I’ve spent most of my life in Delhi (doing the Noida Gurgaon commute, boo!).
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
SS: I pitched an article, it got accepted. A few months later, I pitched the idea for a mental health section, got more support than I could have imagined and there’s be no stopping since then.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
SS: I think I truly realized and owned the word in my mid-twenties. It came from a place of deep discomfort with what I was seeing around me, what was happening in my life (social pressures to conform etc). I care very deeply about reproductive rights and access to contraception, as well as economic access and the world of work.
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?
SS: My favorite piece is the one titled ‘All the brown women in me are tired’. I think it’s because it is such a raw piece, it comes from years of experience that crystallized into this piece – I remember writing this in the span of a few hours, feeling compelled to do so. One of my recent favourites to read on the website was the article on virginity and the heternormativity of that form of control.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
SS: I enjoy theater and stand up comedy, I like to read although my focus has been fuzzy in the last few years (too many gadgets). I enjoy languages and have learned German for a few years and have been trying to learn Spanish for a while.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
SS: I enjoy the worlds and people it brings together. Before FII none of these discussions and calls to action and interactions with people who work in gender justice, intersectionality, countering privilege and patriarchy, were possible for me. I never had this world when I lived in India and I found it after I left. I’d like to see more action-focused content as well as interactive content.