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 Arshie Qureshi.
Arshie, is a feminist activist from Kashmir who has been following FII since 2014 and writing for us since 2015. Arshie reports from Kashmir on issues of internet shutdown, campus sexism and everyday life. She is a media studies teacher and loves to travel!
So without further ado, let’s meet the writer herself!
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
AQ: By profession, I’m a teacher of media studies but most times I find myself discussing gender-related issues. I like writing on paper napkins and I push my limits every day through interactions despite social phobia.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
AQ: In 2015 perhaps, I was struck by an incident that happened to me. I was extremely hurt and wanted to share it with others. I had been following FII for sometime and decided to make my story known through FII. I wrote to you and you accepted my submission. I continued contributing to FII because it seemed to fill the vacuum of a missing platform for discussing gender issues.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
AQ: I was a feminist before I knew the term feminism. I can’t specify one particular time or incident that made me a feminist. It is something I felt inclined to with my experiences and everyday interactions. Choice is very important to me. I believe each one should get a freedom to choose. There need to be no directives or blue prints that anyone should be asked how to live and what to follow.
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?
AQ: It is hard to pick a single favorite. My one of the earliest reads On FII was this ‘Motherhood and Benevolent Misogyny‘. By this time, I had already been thinking about gender equality and gender justice. However, I had not paid much attention to the latent messages passed on by videos like the one that this article mentions about. This added a new dimension to my thinking about motherhood and choice of it.
My favorites among my contributions is this one piece ‘What Is Killing Kashmiri Women And Why Aren’t We Talking About It?‘. Living in a conflict zone really alters the life in all possible ways. The discourse is always dominated by the political happenings, while all other aspects of life get ignored. The topic of women committing suicide is Kashmir was my attempt to bring forth this aspect of life, to tell people that even in a conflict zone, women do have battles to fight apart from dealing with the political crises.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
AQ: I travel.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
AQ: I like the “History” section of FII. It provides us the content that our textbooks fail to do. Such work has been long overdue and also very challenging, I believe. I would suggest creating an interactive feature of crowd sourcing stories of violence and harassment wherein they can be allowed to stay anonymous.
FII thanks Arshie for lending her enthusiasm and insight to our magazine and infusing it with her sharp, incisive commentary.You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. To become a part of our writer community, click here.