Students of India: Ambika Chandra, Editor, Flipside Magazine


Students of India chronicles stories across the country who are doing great work in various fields: Art and theatre, acting, music and dance, cuisine, sports, technology, innovation, business, social work, photography etc.

Flipside is a magazine conceptualised, written and circulated by a group of teenagers that aims to combat sexism and emphasise the importance of gender equality in today’s world. I spoke to Ambika Chandra, an 18 year old, 12th standard student and editor working with the magazine.

1) When did you start this magazine and why?

The Flipside Magazine was started by the seven of us in the summer of 2013. It was initially conceptualised by Ananya Jalan, our Founding Editor, and the rest of us were drawn to the idea as soon as we heard it. I think one of the main reasons we started the magazine was to just start doing something to improve the world we live in. Feminism was a buzzword at the time and everybody was saying that someone should do something, everybody was participating in the blame-game. We decided that it was time for us to take the first step and actually participate in this movement which we are all extremely passionate about. We thought that this was the best way to voice our opinions.

2) Were there any obstacles you faced while trying to get it published?

Initially we had no idea what actually goes into creating and publishing a magazine, it is definitely a lot more work than we thought. The sheer amount of time and hard work it takes was not something we anticipated but I’m glad to say that we rose to the challenge. One of our biggest concerns was also raising the money to be able to actually print it but thankfully we have always found people who are as passionate about Feminism as we are, and who have supported us throughout our endeavour.

3) Why is woman’s empowerment the issue you chose to focus on?

Gender equality, to us, is one of the most important issues in the world. To think that approximately half of the human population is oppressed in some way or the other based on something as basic as their gender is just outrageous. Especially in a country like India where patriarchy is rooted so deeply in society, the need for gender-equality gains even greater importance. All seven of us had always been passionate about this topic and we finally felt that people were willing to accept change.

4) What’s the frequency of the magazine?

Till now we have published three issues of the magazine. We don’t have a set frequency currently because we are still learning about the process with each new issue. We prefer to publish as soon as we are absolutely sure that we have done as good a job as we possibly could and when we’re pleased with all the content.

5) Who is your target audience?

Our target audience is men and women between the ages of 16 and 25 but we think that our content is relevant and interesting for people of all age groups. We have got positive feedback from people of all generations and backgrounds, so we try not to limit ourselves to any one group.

6) How successful do you think you are?

It is very difficult to answer this question because change can only be seen over a long period of time and we are quite a small magazine. But we think that every time we get an email from a reader saying that they found our magazine engaging and important, and it caused them to rethink their ideas on this topic, we are successful.

7) What’s your circulation?

We distribute between 1000 and 1500 copies of each issue in Mumbai and we also have online versions of each issue on our website which we try to promote through various social media platforms.

8) Is it a paid magazine? If not, do you plan to charge money for it later?

The magazine is completely free and funded entirely through sponsors who believe in our cause. We don’t want to make it a paid magazine simply because we arent doing this to earn money. Our objective is to broaden minds and we think that charging people for it would be counterproductive.

9) What is feminism according to you?

Feminism according to us is simply equality for all people. We believe that the essence of Feminism lies in the concept of no discrimination regardless of your sex, gender or sexual orientation. This can only be achieved by changing the mindset of individuals and breaking the various stereotypes related to sex and gender.

10) Are there any other movements linked to the one you’re focusing on?

Feminism is an extremely vast movement in itself. Other movements like those of the LGBT community and even Meninism are all linked to Feminism, which to us is very inclusive.   

11) What do you have to say about problems faced by men?

We have spoken about how sexism hurts men as well in previous issues of the magazine. We think that it is important to include men in the discussion and understand the problems they face if we expect them to do the same for women. Sexism is something that pervades every single part of a society and any movement that hopes to fight it must be willing to fight all the forms it takes.

12) What are your views on the pseudo feminist and anti feminist movements?

Again this is a topic we have touched upon in previous issues. We think that pseudo-feminist and anti-feminist movements are usually supported by people who have a very warped understanding of what feminism really is. Being a feminist has somehow taken on a negative connotation over the years because of the labelling of feminists as being ‘anti-men’, wanting ‘female superiority’ or simply being hypocritical. By spreading the true objective of equality and making this an inclusive discussion, we think that we can combat these movements.

13) What is your future goal as a magazine?

Our future goal is to just continue the conversation on Feminism and to keep publishing material that is interesting, relevant and thought-provoking. We want to ensure that the magazine keeps going and the voice of the youth is heard. We hope that through our articles we can cause people to continue to question the harmful norms and stereotypes ingrained in our society, and perhaps cause a few people to broaden their minds.

14) Who inspires you?

We draw inspiration from every single person who continues to strive for the cause of gender equality, who tries to bring about what little change they can and who refuses to give up and accept discrimination.

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