As part of FII’s new Meet the Team series, we are featuring former and current employees who have worked with or are working with us currently since the inception of FII. Feminism in India as a digital intersectional feminist media platform would not exist if not for these incredible individuals who have helped build this organisation to make what it is today.
Today, we’re chatting with Manasi Pant, who is the Digital Editor at FII. She has done her Bachelor’s in Psychology in Pune and completely changed gears to work towards the issue of women’s rights right after – only took her 3 years doing a completely different degree to realise what she wants to pursue! She loves spending her time reading, journaling, and petting dogs – three things she parrots to everyone who ever asks her to describe herself.
FII: What do you like most about being a part of the FII family?
Manasi: The fact that it is a very empathic and non-judgemental space is what I like most about the FII family. There is a lot of room for exchange of differing opinions and perspectives of viewing a problem, without the fear of being cancelled. My ability to freely ask questions to my colleagues has been nurtured by the fact that even disagreeing opinions are met with a constructive discussion. This healthy exchange of ideas encourages me to keep my curiosity alight, as well as enables a lot of growth in terms of understanding where people come from and how it affects them differently. I think there is a tendency in woke culture to interpret misunderstanding as bigotry (don’t get me wrong – a lot of bigotry is exactly what it’s called), so I really appreciate the fact that tomorrow if I happen to lack an understanding of something, it will be received with compassion and a genuine attempt to educate me.
FII: What advice would you give someone joining the organisation?
Manasi: We do have many new members on the team, and I think one advice we need to keep reminding ourselves of is to simply grow a thick skin. There is no shortage of trolls, negative comments and threats when it comes to criticising the dominant narrative. There is a difference between constructive criticism which we should take seriously, and pure mindless hate. Focusing on the latter will bring nothing but sadness!
FII: How would your colleagues describe you?
Manasi: My lovely colleagues have for the most part simply made fun of me for being a sassy 21 year old because they are JEALOUS OF MY YOUTH. My nicer colleague whom I forced to answer this question for me described me as ‘creative, organised and fun to be around’ – quite the opposite of what Pragya would say, “I think you’re funny because I understand your humour. I don’t think others find you funny.”
FII: Which fictional character do you identify with and why?
Manasi: I want to sound smart but I can only think of Caroline Forbes from the Vampire Diaries, because she’s responsible, loyal to her friends, and trying to keep as calm as possible amid chaos.
FII: What is something that you’re tired of hearing?
Manasi: Oh wow, I can write an essay on this one! The first one is that I need to speak louder. I have been told this all my life and I am just really bad at gauging the volume of my own voice, it seems. Being soft spoken also keeps people from believing that I can be assertive, and I feel I have to work a little harder to get the point across.
The second thing I am tired of hearing is, “Oh, you’re a feminist? I’ve got to watch my words around you!” as if I were the sole barrier between them and their freedom of speech when they should just generally be more sensitive and careful with their words, especially if they are being offensive. Other things I’m tired of hearing, which I’m sure many feminists will relate to, “If iT iS foR EquAliTy wHY iS it cAlleD ‘FeMiniSM’??” and also Devil’s advocates trying to challenge my point of views for “entertainment”.
FII: What makes FII a ‘feminist’ organisation?
Manasi: The most feminist thing about my job is that I get to be a part of a team that is always working to building each other up! It is not only fun but also important to everyone to hype each other up for the work we do, while being sensitive and giving constructive feedback if I slip up. I feel I am allowed to make mistakes freely and as a result I can learn more things freely. Some of my favourite moments are those wherein a team member expresses a concern or self-doubt and almost everyone else passionately points out how outrageous it is that a talented person would feel this way!
FII: What’s the most fun thing about your job?
Manasi: Most things about my job are a lot of fun because I am lucky to have colleagues who are also my friends. So just the everyday conversations in the office, having lots of green tea and laughing about something or the other, the TMI conversations and pulling each other’s leg (mostly mine being pulled), petting the neighbour’s dog and having lunch together, obsessing over each other’s food, all make a very pleasant and enjoyable workspace that I look forward to going to everyday!
FII thanks Manasi Pant for her timely and valuable contribution to the organisation. We are incredibly grateful to have her as a part of our team and appreciate her for her deeply insightful work. Follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn.