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 October, we feature Akanksha Mishra. She is an insightful writer who covers topics raging from the art of cooking to social justice activists. She adds nuances and depth to every topic that she touches. Her particularly well known pieces are Incest, Urban Landscapes And Child Sexual Abuse, From Lorde To Lankesh: Women Responding In Anger, amongst many more.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Akanksha Mishra: I am pursuing a PhD from the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies Department at the University of Washington and work on sexuality and body politics in schools in Istanbul and Hyderabad. I am also an amateur actor and dancer and an avid reader of books. And oh- I heart Yoga!
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
AM: I started following FII through my cousin’s Facebook posts and was instantly hooked. When I moved to Hyderabad from Istanbul via Seattle for my research last year, I was desperate as a feminist academic to find an accessible platform to share and discuss with other women and people everyday stories and experiences that so intensely shape and reflect gender based systemic oppression. FII proved to be perfect and invaluable for the same.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
AM: If feminism is the belief that all systems are a result of historical actions that have led to the oppression of certain groups of people- women, lower caste members, religious minorities, and so on- and that such oppression can only be eased through systemic change, then I guess I have always been a feminist. The only difference is that now as a scholar I have the language to express my anger that I couldn’t in the past. I am especially passionate about looking at the intersections of casteist, Brahminical, Hinduism with issues of gender justice, sexuality, and the body.
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?
AM: This is so difficult! I really enjoy reading FII pieces because there is an immense diversity of topics covered. Picking one is like comparing oranges to apples. From the scathing criticism of caste in To The Bhadralok Academia, With Love to well researched pieces on feminist icons like Amrita Pritam: Not Just A Poet, But Revolution Personified | #IndianWomenInHistory that provide a wealth of information, I love them all! My own piece? Again, each piece feels special when you pen something you are passionate about. But I really loved writing Nostalgia, Love and Desire: A Personal Narrative. I wrote it very fast, with a sense of lightening urgency and passion because these feelings had been such an intense part of me and writing it for FII helped me explore the connections between feelings, nostalgia, and sex.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
AM: I am always writing about gender and social justice 🙂 Actually, I am writing a lot because I am also currently typing up my PhD dissertation in feminist studies. However, most of my time is filled with looking after 2 small children, counseling friends on personal issues, acting with small professional groups in the city, writing a script on sexuality in marriage with a dear friend, doing yoga, watching movies with my partner, volunteering for a child sexual abuse prevention initiative, attending sex education talks, coaching children on life skills- wait, did you say a day has only 24 hours?
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
AM: I love the sheer width and depth of the topics covered by FII and how the FII team meticulously deals with each individual piece to make sure it’s sensitive to the audience. I would love to see more talk on sex, desire and gender and their blurred lines!
FII thanks Akanksha Mishra for being such a dedicated writer. We are incredibly grateful to have her as a part of our writers’ community and appreciate her for her deeply insightful writing. She can be followed on Instagram and Twitter.