Tête-à-tête with the creator of iAwaken (formerly That Woke Ladki)

j
@jarul
24 Feb 2020

iAwaken Is An Online Platform And Community For Advocacy And Activism run by a Pan Enby Womxn.

Here, she answers some of our questions around childhood, body, mental health, feminism and beauty.

##Where did you grow up? How many members did your family have? Who was your favourite family member?

I was born and brought up in New Delhi, India. Growing up it was a joint family of 20 people living in the same house. We eventually separated and now we're a nuclear family of four - my parents and an elder brother. My favourite family member would be my mother because I feel I owe everything I've become to her in some way or the other.

Did you ever choose any art form as an outlet?

I'm a trained dancer and an amateur poet. I often use either as catharsis and/or expression.

What do you like to do to unwind?

I think music and sleeping do it for me. After a bad or a hectic day, I just want to go back to sleep.

Do you feel like there’s immense societal pressure on women, in general, to be feminine? How do you cope with it?

I've always been a fat person, ever since I was a child. I was always the biggest and tallest among my group of friends anywhere I went. A lot of people called me masculine because of my size. I had broad shoulders, big hands and big feet. So I particularly felt a need to be extra feminine. So I'd keep long hair even when I wanted them short, wore heels in spite of getting sore feet and applied makeup even if I hated it.

I was first introduced to body positivity on the internet which made me want to love what I have. And then I came across the body neutrality movement, which made me understand that how I look doesn't dictate the amount of respect I deserve.
I don't owe beauty or femininity to anyone.
I'm who I am, and I'll remain what I identify as, irrespective of what I wore or chose to carry myself.

"We need more PoC, DBA, Queer and people from other marginalized communities in building the very fabric of interweb and social media portals."

If you would like to, please share your emotional and mental state during times of distress?

(Happy/excited/confused. Please elaborate)

A "mess" sums it up pretty well. I'm not very good at coping with a lot of emotional and/or mental stress. I've past trauma and a history of mental health conditions for which I seek therapy.

How would you describe your family?

I'd say we're broken yet stuck together. We're a cocktail of a love-hate bitter-sweet typical brown family with a lot of tragedy and love.

Do you feel that often feminism is confused with misandry?

I don't believe misandry is a form of oppression. It's a reaction to one's oppression. I actually refer to it as "mythandry". Because me hating men as a group and patriarchy as an institution doesn't change the existing power dynamics between the genders. A lot of people tend to equate misogyny and misandry, failing to understand the gravity of both words.

Do you often find yourself in situations where you feel that you are being gaslighted for things just because you’re a woman?

All the time. A lot of things are brought to you by brahminical cis heteronormative patriarchy just because you exist as a woman. Gaslighting is one of them.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Kind, Rebellion, Art

What do you think is the correct forum to encourage an engaging dialogue for young people to understand inclusivity?

All forums possible. However, I think academic spaces are a good starting point. But unless you take the conversation to your cliches and communities, and apply it there, it wouldn't be of much help.

Do you think that often women are not seen as people? What part do you think traditional education (i.e. rote learning) plays in that?

Yes. And I don't think rote learning and not seeing women as people are interrelated.

What is your ideal Saturday night?

A good book or a Netflix movie.

Do you have a signature cocktail recipe, you’d like to share with our readers?

I don't think I'm the person for that question since for me it's cranberry in everything possible.

Where do you see your life in 5 years?

Living and teaching in a place far from here. Given we all survive the climate emergency.

Your ideal holiday destination would be...

I'm intrigued by places with a rich history, architecture and art. Any place with castles, palaces and probably a coast would do. I have Prague, the Czech Republic at the back of my mind.

Your guilty pleasure is...

Watching teen rom-coms. Especially if I'm doing some work and need something playing in the background or outside/travelling looking for something light on the mind.

Beauty to you is…

Not something I owe anyone.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

Dolphins; I love dolphins.

What is your favourite song?

People Help The People By Birdy

What would you tell your 15-year-old self?

Teenage boys ain't worth your time, go read more books.

Do you have any advice for young women?

Marriage and Kids are optional and so is having a romantic relationship. Don't do something you don't wanna do just because it's status quo.

Do you have any words of encouragement for anyone who feels alone?

It gets better.


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You might also like to read: How To Find The Right Therapist For Myself?

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