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 January, we feature Shivani Ekkanath.
From talking about Female Solo Travel: A Step Into Adulthood And Its Independence to explaining Why Women In Conflict Is A Category Of Intersectionality?, Shivani’s exceptional flair of writing has covered a host of topics, keeping us hooked to her articles and her activism. Some of her other popular articles are, Can Today’s Hook Up Culture Harm Women More Than Men?, Why Today’s Advertisements Continue To Be Problematic and many others.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Shivani Ekkanath: I am currently a second-year undergrad of political science at Sciences Po Paris, currently trying to juggle the endless stream of academic work and trying my best to also fulfil my passions as a political and feminist writer in my own capacity. I believe that writing about feminism and associated social issues has given me an outlet for channelling my own sense of social justice which I have always thought came from a place of deeply rooted anger and resentment at the many injustices and problems in our societies.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
Shivani Ekkanath: I started following the FII Instagram page last year and began reading many of the articles on the website. I realised how FII’s presentation of intersectional feminism related to me personally and how inclusive it was. The site covered many fresh perspectives and explored different intersectional and feminist dimensions to the events occurring in the present socio-political environments, I got to know more about the rich and diverse writing community on the site, read the guidelines and applied to be a writer last summer. It all worked out for the best and I learn and appreciate the FII opportunity every day simply because of the sheer effort the organisation takes to educate individuals and their commitment to political engagement, particularly during the ongoing anti-CAA protests and the spectre of political and ideological despotism that has slowly begun to cast its shadow in India.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
Shivani Ekkanath: I believe that I may have always been a feminist, but I only was able to understand it when I realised and became more self-aware about my own place and position in society. As a south Asian woman growing up in such a divided world, I realised the importance of the intersectional lens and analysing the many overlapping gaps of inequality and the different faces to inequality. In hindsight, I realised the society and community I grew up in, tended to gloss over and disregard many issues and even questions young women like me have about their desires, freedoms, identity, relationships, and sexuality. I was always told to cover up and remain quiet because I would ‘get into trouble’. The censored environment I was raised in made me more vocal and passionate about feminist issues, particularly when it came to issues pertaining to feminist and LGBTQ issues, sexual abuse, rape culture, violence against women, period poverty and sex trafficking, to name a few. I hope to understand different dimensions to feminist issues and feel that writing and research continue to bring me the gifts of knowledge, information and insights every day.
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?
Shivani Ekkanath: I really enjoyed writing my piece on feminist writing as it allowed me to think about why I write and the perspectives that I bring. I have always wondered why writing about gender and feminism has become one of my biggest passions and how I personally understand the social realities in different communities and even come to terms with my own position, voice and capacity in the world. It is of course, simply impossible to pick my favourite piece on the site, but I love the brutal honesty and fresh perspective brought in the personal essays and stories from different authors, about their experiences. I particularly enjoyed pieces on choice feminism, childhood trauma, breaking menstrual taboo and the many articles that brought out the intersectional perspectives on the anti-CAA protests.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
Shivani Ekkanath: Apart from being a full-time student, I enjoy reading and watching films and TV shows on social and political issues and analysing them. My campus life at Sciences Po is very vibrant and I love working on projects with the diverse body of students I work with every day. I am a fan of Indie and alternative music and am constantly on the lookout for new music. Since moving to France for university, I have become passionate about travel and the inspiration it brings me and am always on the lookout for travel blogs and articles to help me plan my next adventure, though on a budget. Are any of these helping me live out the trope of the aspiring broke student writer with all those hopes and dreams of changing the world? Hopefully, let’s wait and see!
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
Shivani Ekkanath: What fascinates me about FII is the wide array of issues covered and the connections every article and media piece has to inequality, diversity and representation. FII engages with its audiences in a very inspiring way, urging us to make use of our position and voice in society to not only be political and socially aware and strive for change, but also appreciate the beauty of differences in society. I hope the FII community continues to embrace its strengths and work towards promoting further dialogue, discussion and engagement. FII uses political freedom and agency to the best of its abilities. It is a testament to how the power of reliable information, good reporting and journalism can help communicate and inform during times of political turmoil.
FII thanks Shivani for her timely and valuable contributions. We are incredibly grateful to have her as a part of our writers’ community and appreciate her for her deeply informative writing. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.