We have been featuring the best writers from our writers’ 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 writers’ community that we have steadily been building over the last three years.
This April, we feature Jane Chelliah. Jane brings us a fresh insight into motherhood and feminist parenting, as well as nuanced dialogues on race and multiculturalism through a postcolonial, feminist lens. Some of her deeply engaging works include feminism and motherhood, NRA women and Modi and mansplaining with male saviour complex.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Jane Chelliah: I starting blogging 8 years ago to raise awareness about South Asian issues in the West. I have a mixed race daughter and feel the weight of responsibility to bang the drum for intersectionality.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
JC: FII has to be the best Indian feminist website globally for the way it covers class and caste as a horizontal issue across economic, political and societal issues. I was reading FII long before I gathered up the courage to apply to become a writer. To say that I was thrilled when I was accepted would be an understatement.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
JC: I became a feminist 18 years ago when my daughter was born. Feminism, for a long time, seemed to be a Western concept for white women. However, along with motherhood came the realisation, plainly stated, that the world was not a very nice place for women.
A sort of tigress feminism grew within me as a response. By this, I meant that I wanted to keep my daughter safe and feminism was the means for doing this, for challenging and changing the patriarchy.
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?
JC: The piece that I wrote about Ivanka Trump’s visit to India had the greatest resonance with me because of the way white people are still revered post the Empire. We still face a hangover from the days of the Empire.
My favourite piece is on the simple things men can do for feminism because the advice contained is timeless, which is also worrying. Is it that hard for men to embrace feminism?
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
JC: Just the other day my daughter called me a ‘geek’ because I was listening to a Youtube lecture on Nationalism while travelling on the Metro with her. Politics, social justice and feminism are my passion. I do enjoy gardening, meeting up with friends and cooking the same old curry while boring everyone to death at the dinner table.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
JC: FII plays a great part in helping Indian feminist women think about how Indian patriarchy is constructed and how our lives are impacted by it. I often wonder why Bollywood actors aren’t challenged more for the part that they play in constructing these messages while earning mega bucks.
FII thanks Jane Chelliah for being such a dedicated writer. Her enthusiasm is truly infectious. We are very grateful to have her as part of our writers’ community. Jane can be followed on Twitter.