International Women's Day at Ryerson & The MLC!

March 8 was International Women's Day. Reflecting back on it a couple of days later, I am so proud of how everyone at Ryerson, from the students to the professors, came together to recognize the achievements of women. The Dean of Arts Pamela Sugiman was one of the many members of the Ryerson community to tweet about how she was honoring and supporting women on Women’s Day 2017. Sugiman attended a luncheon where awards were given out to commendable women at Ryerson. Moreover, the Her Campus Ryerson team took over the Her Campus Snapchat and snapped students and professors around campus celebrating Women’s Day. Overall, the vibe being given off was warm and supportive, and it really showed that Ryerson was truly happy to celebrate women’s day.

 

Source: Giphy

International Women’s Day is a day to recognize women’s achievements, both historical and contemporary. It is a day to identify the challenges women continue to endure in the face of gender inequality. It is a day to promote solutions for the elimination of unfair standards that exist at various points in a woman’s life. It is not a day to dispute the position of women in culture; it is a day to contend for a similar position among all genders, socially, culturally, economically and politically.

Of course, we shouldn’t only recognize women and their achievements on one day of the year. It is important to do so every single day. The Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre (MLC) at Ryerson understands the importance of this. The MLC seeks to recognize the work of extraordinary women, especially women who didn’t have their work celebrated and appreciated in their lifetimes. I had the opportunity to write about some of the women that the MLC works on and thought I would include some of the women here for you so that examples of strong women who defied the odds can surround us and motivate us to do better.

Freytag-Loringhoven is described as a “Dadaist, Proto-Punk, Poet” whose playful style suggests that she was always up to something. She had a grand personality that was reflected through her clothing; feathers, tomato can bras, and postage stamps on her face were all part of Freytag-Loringhoven’s expression through fashion, or some might argue, anti-fashion. She was commendably ahead of her time, using “found objects” creatively and provocatively.

Source: Emest Journal

Mary Riter Hamilton was an extraordinary painter who was refused sanction as an official war artist by the Canadian government. She risked her life and mental health to capture “the suffering and heroism of the war” in her pictures. She felt it was her duty to ensure that these war scenes were painted before they were effaced by time and history. Hamilton was extremely talented, as an examination of her paintings shows.

Source: Library and Archives Canada

Lishai is an award-winning Canadian poet with roots in diasporic oral tradition. Lishai prides herself as being a storyteller for her community. She develops arts programs in schools throughout Toronto and is the co-founder of the young women’s writing collective Ink Veins. Although she is heavily focused on performance poetry, she still believes in the power of the pen as a tool for community development and cross-cultural compassion.

Source: lishai.ca

We all know L. M. Montgomery because of the success of Anne of Green Gables (1908), but various members of the MLC are committed to studying the author and her work to advance scholarship about her. Montgomery was influenced by her environment, such as beauty icons and advertisements, and this translated into her writing. There are many terrific studies including Looking for Anne for those who want to learn more about the creator of Anne of Green Gables.

Source: Montreal Gazette

Although often accused of hosting lavish and frivolous parties, A’lelia Walker in fact helped shape the Harlem Renaissance through her Manhattan salon, The Dark Tower, where she provided a platform for the art of African American poets, writers, and visual artists. Students at our centre have been involved in exhibitions and salons celebrating the assertive diversity of this modernist figure who deserves more attention.

Source: Carl Van Vechten/Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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If any of these women sparked your interest and you would like to learn more about them be sure to visit the MLC's website: mlc.ryerson.ca. I want to give a shoutout to my team members (who by the way are also some of the most hard working women I know) at the MLC who helped edit the little descriptions that were provided regarding the five powerful women above: Holly Lock, Warsan Amin and our supervisor Dr. Irene Gammel!

Don't forget to tweet us your thoughts on International Women's Day or women that inspire you to be better @HCRyerson!