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 few years. This January, we feature Ananya Pathak.
Ananya is a humanities student with a deep interest in the relationship between art and society, a writing obsession, and way too many bizarre ideas involving their camera. Some of their popular articles include Early Warning Project Report Warns Of Hindutva Politics’ Mass Killing Risks, Internet Aesthetics, Crises & Identity: A Young Intersectional Eco-Feminist’s Perspective, Human Rights Watch World Report Talks About Indian Government’s “Systematic Discrimination”, FII Interviews: Dr. Sylvia Karpagam Tackling Institutional Discrimination From Within The System among others.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Ananya Pathak: I’m, 16, a social science student, multidisciplinary artist/writer, and an intersectional climate justice advocate from Mumbai, India. My work explores inclusive and sustainable menstruation, mental health, and policy. Recently, I’ve been creating The Diversity & Inclusive Collective, a space for artists from structurally-excluded communities and equity-centric storytelling.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
Ananya Pathak: I had just finished my board exams, was trying to recover from a quintessential identity crisis, had nosedived into climate justice work, and needed a safe space to punch out words. Having read FII before, I was struck by its radically intersectional energy and wrote my first piece for Earth Day 2022. Later, when I had a bit more time, I signed up as an intern–which has been the most wonderfully exploratory experience. I just had to keep writing, even after.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
Ananya Pathak: Well, the turn of adolescence markedly shifted my understanding of myself–which snowballed into a political awakening, explorations of gender, a passion for environmental justice, a vision for a radical utopia, and a lot of fun teenage whiplash to deal with. Through these cycles of dreams and burnout, I find attaching my value to my values of intersectional ecofeminism to be a constant. These ideas of fundamental revolution bring a lot of hope. It has given me a sense of community at my loneliest.
I am learning more about Ambedkarite feminism and have started to strongly believe in its socialist creations. At its center, I believe is an equity of life and a model of nature at its most nurturing and supportive. In some ways, the climate crisis made me feminist–people are suffering right now, but it’s not those who an ableist brahmanical patriarchy privilege. Understanding the manifestations of this oppression made me change how I viewed feminism and allyship.
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?
Ananya Pathak: All of FII’s work is so cool! The choice is hard but I would say FII’s interview with TheBigFatBao On Documenting How Our Caste & Gender Determine The Food We Eat was one of the first articles I read to have struck me. It radically reshaped my understanding of food cultures and introduced me to the idea of how intersectional identities change one’s relationship with food. I have always admired The Big Fat Bao’s art and this gave me a better insight into where it’s coming from.
I can’t choose from my own pieces because researching for each of them was so cool! All the interviews I’ve done with people are easily my top chosen ones, because getting to listen to people share their stories is such a gift–I most certainly can’t choose favourites from them. As for something I wrote from scratch, I’d have to go with A COP27 Overview: Hypocrisy And Hope In Climate Justice, just because I got to speak to so many on-ground activists.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
Ananya Pathak: Creating art! Drinking tea. Reading/watching literary/cinematic fiction. Listening to sapphic yearning music. Procrastinating. Trying to calm down. Volunteering with, like, 10 different organisations. Snacking on whatever my latest food obsession is. Cooking with plants. Taking walks in overcrowded markets. Writing fiction/poetry. Researching the most absurd things. Ranting to my camera. Studying society. Failing at socialising. Multitasking all of that at once.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
Ananya Pathak: Ahh everything. Intersectional: check, feminist: check, safe space for radical justice-centric media: check. I just want to see this space grow, bring newer issues, perspectives and solutions from structurally excluded communities to readers and I want to live to show off the archives to future feminist teenagers when I’m no longer one. Honoured and grateful to be here.
FII thanks Ananya for their timely and valuable contributions. We are incredibly grateful to have them as a part of our writers’ community and appreciate them for their deeply informative writing. You can follow them on LinkedIn and YouTube.