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 February, we feature Sohini.
Sohini Sengupta is a writer and illustrator from the suburbs of Bengal. A student of literature and cinema, Sohini primarily looks at the world through the political lens of gender, and they find it difficult to locate themself in the heteronormative matrix and self-admittedly continues to hang in limbo. Some of their popular articles include Women Cutting Cinema: FII In Conversation With Five Indian Editors, Live-In Relationships: Does The Indian Media Have An Agenda?, ‘Who Would We Be Without Male Gaze?’: On Sexuality, Body Image, And Growing Up Gay, Merger Of Film Bodies: Is This A New Horizon For Indian Cinema? and Trans Voices In Campuses: The Need For Safe Spaces Beyond Electoral Lip Service.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Sohini: I am an illustrator and writer. I love everything narrative – from design to cinema to books. Professionally I am an editor, content strategist and illustrator. Currently, I am pursuing a design fellowship in Ahmedabad. I am also highly skilled at pursuing cats. Only traffic rules can stop me from tsk-ing at unknown felines and conversing with them.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
Sohini: I joined the editorial internship in 2022. I wanted to explore the intersection of the two things that are close to my heart – written words and feminism. The internship was a fantastic run, from pitching diverse stories to the warmth and guidance of the edit team. After that, I stayed on as a contributing writer and continue to write alongside my day job and evening fellowship program.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
Sohini: I don’t think I became one. I realised slowly, especially during my adolescent years, that I was a feminist and I continue to grow as one. The lens that is closest to my heart is the standpoint theory – to learn about feminism in the context of social intersections. The issue that I presently feel the most passionately about is historiography – how we write and remember our women.
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?
Sohini: I loved writing most of the pieces – but the piece that I had wanted to write for a long time and got a chance to, thanks to FII, is “Arthritis And Gender Roles: Unpacking The Relationship Between Joint Pain and Gender“. There is so much about women that have become part of the furnishing that they do not strike us as a point of concern. I grew up in a household and a neighbourhood where women suffered from chronic joint pains. I had started inquiring into the possible reasons for it way before writing this piece. I could finally word my thoughts and back them up with research and expert voices. It also resonated with a lot of people who came back to say they have women in their families who suffer from bone-related issues. If a writer can provide a different lens through a piece of writing that readers can carry into their lives – it is the most exciting possibility.
I love and look forward to the FII series Indian Women in History because of the extensive document they are archiving. One of the latest pieces in that series I really enjoyed reading was ‘Tayeba Begum Khedive Jung: The First Muslim Woman Graduate‘.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
Sohini: I love embroidering and watching my cats preen. I also love watching movies and dreaming up characters and scenes inside my head. I want to start writing them down for the screen, someday soon. I love reading books but the guilt of unread books often overtakes the enjoyment of reading one.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
Sohini: I enjoy FII for the diverse voices they frame on this platform. It is an incredibly welcoming space in an otherwise cutthroat sector. There is an understanding of personal boundaries, mental health and healthy work-life balance in the team. This allows writers to focus on their writing and not worry about the attached paranoia of a workplace. I hope to see more dry humour on the platform.
FII thanks Sohini 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 Sohini on Instagram and Facebook.