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Demystifying the feminism discourse

Kuhu Srivastava, the founding editor of 'The Feminist Times', aims to make feminism accessible to all
Last Updated : 26 April 2022, 03:24 IST

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Kuhu Srivastava is the founding editor of The Feminist Times, a vibrant online platform dedicated to discussing diverse and relevant issues related to gender equality.

Srivastava, who has edited a collection of essays on feminism titled Feminism 101, believes in educating everyone about feminism by simplifying it and making it accessible to enable a deeper understanding of how patriarchy can be dismantled.

Srivastava is also involved in projects like Project Agaaram—an initiative that donates books to schools in rural areas (she has successfully built a library for the students of Rajkumari Ratnadevi Girls School in Rajasthan). As part of Project Hayat, she supplies biodegradable pads to women in rural and remote areas.

This 24-year-old is now all set to explore the realms of social media through a feminist lens with a brand new initiative called "Self Made."

We spoke to her about her commitment to the feminist cause and her future projects.

Many people are loath to discuss Feminism; from where does this reluctance stem?

People do not acknowledge patriarchy. It's so deeply rooted in our society that it is taken as the "norm." It has been normalised for so long that people can't suddenly accept it as problematic. Even if you, as an individual, start identifying the sexist patterns, you realise how difficult it becomes to confront or address the issues in your social circles since everyone is busy protecting the lies fed to them since childhood.

Feminists are often labelled aggressive. Your tagline reads, "We don't bash, We educate," what's your take on the "angry feminist?"

Anger is a stage that every feminist has to go through quite early to deal with circumstances in a credible, calm and wise manner later on. That latter part is important to show people what Feminism stands for and how it benefits everyone. If you invite people to have a conversation and try to understand where they come from, then there's a chance they will listen to you. We are all victims of the same system, and years of conditioning make people defensive. We won't be any closer to success if we keep screaming at each other.

Is being able to talk about feminism a privilege?

Yes, definitely. Very few institutions offer a degree in this discipline. Feminism, as a subject, is still not taught in schools and colleges; it is offered only as an optional subject that too only within the social science disciplines. We have to acknowledge that the resources to study Feminism are not easily accessible nor affordable. "The Feminist Times" started with the aim of changing that and giving people a fair chance to understand what Feminism is. That is why we don't operate on any subscription basis; anyone from anywhere can access our work without paying a single penny.

Where do you see The Feminist Times in the next two years?

When I started The Feminist Times in June 2020, I only thought we'd publish monthly newsletters, but the kind of support we started receiving since its inception has been overwhelming. Students, teachers, and professionals volunteered to work, which helped us expand by taking on new projects like Project Hayat and Project Agaaram.

Project Agaaram enabled us to help build a library for the girls of Rajkumari Ratnavati Girls School. I won't restrict its growth through my expectations because it's turning out to be better than I imagined!

Where do you think we are heading as a society? What and who do we look up to when times are tough?

I think it's important to find stories and platforms that let people share their experiences. Because when you identify toxic patterns in someone else's account, you realise that this isn't normal. You get encouraged to own your spaces unapologetically, which we're trying to do at "The Feminist Times"—fostering a safe environment for people from every gender to speak up, share, unlearn and relearn.

(The author is a writer and an art director. She is currently working on the first draft of her first book alongside other creative projects)

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Published 26 April 2022, 03:24 IST

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