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 June, we feature Gayatri Devi.
Gayatri is a Professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia, where she teaches courses in English and Film Studies. Some of her popular articles include The IOA President P.T Usha Should Do More To Help The Wrestlers Redress Their Complaints, The Murder Of Dr. Vandana Das Is A Wake-Up Call To Correct A Healthcare System Gone Awry, Is The Franco Mulakkal Acquittal Decriminalizing Rape?, Kerala’s Public Masturbation Row: From Creepy Behaviour To Men’s Rights Movement, Lalithambika Antharjanam: The Writer Who Helped Shape Kerala’s Feminist Literature | #IndianWomenInHistory, Women And Work In Regional Cinema: Mahanagar, Anweshichu Kandethiyilla And Umbartha among others.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Gayatri: I earned a PhD in English from the University of North Dakota (1995) and I have taught in several universities in the United States for the last thirty three years. Currently, I am a professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design where I teach courses in English and film studies.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
Gayatri: I was a regular reader of FII since 2018 and I started writing for FII in 2019 primarily attracted by its rigorous emphasis on intersectional approaches to women and gender issues. I found the pronounced intersectional emphasis refreshing. FII fills a real void in intersectional discourses in Indian feminist thought. I also greatly respect the highly collegial and respectful culture of the writers’ group at FII and the editorial decision of FII to allow all intersectional voices to be heard. I respect the ally stance of FII greatly.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
Gayatri: I guess I was always a feminist because I grew up in an extremely patriarchal family, community and society. The patriarchal flaunting of power, authority, aggression and explicit violence against women in Kerala was not only bizarre and illogical to me, but downright abhorrent. When I moved to the US almost 33 years ago to pursue higher studies, I quickly discovered that this patriarchal and misogynist nonsense was widespread in mainstream US culture as well. That further bolstered my decision to be an outspoken feminist. I protest sexism in all its forms. All forms and avenues of sexist discrimination — in education, employment, entertainment and the arts, literature and other intellectual engagements — are feminist issues.
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?
Gayatri: My favourite piece that I wrote for FII is Kanthan Highlights The Struggles In The Lives Of The Adiya Adivasis And Their Intimate Relationship With Their Land. My favourite piece by another author on FII is ‘Do Not Come’: Kamala Harris Sets A Problematic Tone For The Migrant Crisis. Great article and great analysis of the sort of thing that gets overlooked by mainstream media.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
Gayatri: I like to garden and I like to cook for family and friends. I also like to translate and listen to music.
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
Gayatri: Continue being brave and outspoken. Continue being intersectional. Continue being an ally. Continue being the forum for women and gender issues without compromise.
FII thanks Gayatri for her timely and valuable contributions. We are incredibly grateful to have her as a part of our writers’ community and appreciate her for the deeply informative writing. You can follow her on Facebook.