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 Purnima Singh, who is the Content Strategist at FII. She identifies as a sometimes-raging and almost all time-tired feminist. She graduated in 2019 with a degree in German studies and started working shortly after. She enjoys reading, though she is not able to read as much as she used to. She honestly doesn’t remember much about her pre-lockdown self, these days she is mostly sleep deprived, surviving on cat videos and obscure Tumblr blogs.
In the office, Purnima is best known for her obsession with arranging our library books. Let’s find out more about Purnima’s journey at FII!
FII: What do you like most about being a part of the FII family?
Purnima: I really love how understanding and supportive all my colleagues are and that the team really is made up of genuinely amazing, creative, and kind people. The team for me is also a safe space, which is something that has been really hard for me to find in other spheres of my life. Apart from that, the FII writers’ community, FII interns (I, myself was one!) are all just some really amazing and talented people.
FII: What advice would you give someone joining the organisation?
Purnima: Don’t be shy to talk about the problems that you might face with work. When I had started working at FII, I was just so hesitant to talk about what I was doing or if something in particular was stressing me. It’s better to discuss issues that one might be facing with the team as well.
FII: How would your colleagues describe you?
Purnima: Hopefully not as a pain in the rear. I think they’ll describe me as organised, creative and funny. And hopefully fun to be around!
FII: Which fictional character do you identify with and why?
Purnima: Though I definitely like to think of myself as an Austen heroine (Shoutout to Lizzie Bennet and Emma Woodhouse), I’m really Mabel from Gravity Falls. In the way that I also want to be voiced by Kristen Schaal, own a pet pig, want most boys to be vampires, like sparkly things, and am boy-band obsessed.
FII: What is something that you’re tired of hearing?
Purnima: “Why are you feminists talking about politics? Stick to talking about female foeticide or something.” I’m tired of people expecting a less radical, non-intersectional and commercial girl boss version of feminism from me. Not only is it totally wrong, as feminism and almost everything we do is political, it’s also extremely patronising because it comes with a “Oh, do you even understand what you’re talking about?” The entire FII family works really hard and it really frustrates me when I receive such condescending comments.
FII: Which feminist movement do you feel particularly passionate about and why?
Purnima: I’m extremely passionate about the movement against CAA-NRC, I know some people might say that the movement has nothing to do with feminism but I would disagree. It was a movement overwhelmingly led by Muslim women, who are often either villified or victimised by the Indian media and society. The women of Shaheen Bagh and Jamia had broken these preconceived notions about protestors, resistance and just the general way we think of Muslim women. Maybe because this was the first socio-political movement that I also actively participated in, I feel strongly about it.
FII: What makes FII a ‘feminist’ organisation?
Purnima: Everything, I guess? FII is feminist in the way it treats its employees. It’s feminist in how we interact with our community. It’s feminist in its work culture. It’s feminist in its organisational policies. Even if we weren’t called ‘Feminism In India’, we would still be a feminist organisation because of our ethos.
FII: What’s the most fun thing about your job?
Purnima: The fact that I almost never get bored. I have been creating, learning and experimenting with new things that I have never done before. I made my first video after joining FII, have been experimenting with designing, working on podcasts and so much more! Working at FII has been really exciting till now.
But also the books. Okay, mostly the books.
FII: Do you remember when and why you decided to work at a feminist organisation?
Purnima: Well I hadn’t made a conscious decision as such to work with a feminist organisation. I have always loved writing and wanted to cover beats such as gender, culture, and media. I was in college when I developed a strong interest in new and alternative media so much so that I started contemplating a career in it. I was just hoping that wherever I would work, that workplace would be somewhat feminist. Sadly, that’s not always the case. Which is why I’m glad to be working at FII now.
FII: If you had a talk show, which feminist icon would you call and what would you ask them?
Purnima: I finally read Sultana’s Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain. The premise, the world building, the writing – everything about the novella is great. Sultana’s Dream is perhaps one of the earliest works of feminist Sci-Fi and its imagination of a feminist utopia is relevant even today. Rokeya Hossain’s wit just shines throughout the novella and made me fall in love with reading all over again.
I have always wanted to write satire, and Begum Rokeya was perhaps one of the few people who had mastered the art of it. She died in 1932, a few years after the TV was invented, so even if it can never come true, just imagining having Rokeya Begum on my talk show and hearing her take on electronic mass media and technology’s evolution is so interesting.
FII thanks Purnima Singh 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. She can be followed on Instagram and LinkedIn.