Women writers will not be silenced
March 20, 2022
As March sets its course on Women’s History Month, the history department at Cerritos College hosted an online meeting highlighting the importance of women writers in history in a virtual presentation, titled Refusing to be Silenced: A Tribute to Women’s Writers.
On behalf of the EOPS counselor Henrietta Hurtado and professor Katherine Mishler of the history department, students and professors alike showcased their favorite female authors, writers and poets.
Speakers and presenters were encouraged to read an excerpt from female figures that impacted their lives and made a mark on history.
In this presentation, there were many discussions regarding why these writers are so inspirational.
They mentioned many writers with different styles of writing – all having the same impact of empowerment on their readers.
Some of the writers who were featured were those who talked about their hardships in life, being born into poverty and living an impoverished lifestyle or struggling with rejection from the world.
Rupi Kuar’s Broken English was read by Crystal Sanchez and depicts the story of how to cherish your family’s individuality as an immigrant in a foreign state.
“Hang it up on the walls of museums next to Dali and Van Gogh,” Kuar said.
Marco Benitez retold J.K. Rowling’s Harvard speech, where she lived as a single mother on welfare at 25, and emphasized how she believed herself to be a failure at one point due to getting rejected multiple times.
Rowling emphasizes failure to show people that it is never the ending point, but a stepping stool.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case you fail by default,” Rowling said.
Students Matthew Farias and Benjamin Lopez explained the works of professional manga artists who challenged themselves to write as female artists in a male-dominated society such as Japan.
Manga author Nio Nakatani gave an insight into LGBTQ+ views and teaches to be comfortable with your sex and identity in a country where hostility may present itself.
Hiromu Arakawa, the creator of award-winning Fullmetal Alchemist, shows that the genre of action and fantasy could be written just as well with a female writer.
“Only recently has history highlighted these voices. Recently, schools are teaching about gender concepts and women’s experiences. There’s always room to be more inclusive,” said the co-host Katherine Mishler.
Mishler emphasizes the importance of teaching students about the side that is underrepresented in history, where history usually glosses over women’s achievements for doing equally important efforts.
Henrietta Hurtado gave tribute to the author and feminist Bell Hooks, clarifying that a classroom should be life-sustaining and mind-expanding.
Hurtado also explained that the classroom, “is a place of liberating mutuality where teacher and student together work in partnership.”
“Women’s History Month is something that has a deep background and is rich in Cerritos College,” Misheler stated.
The purpose of showing the published works of women’s writers to students will make a lasting impact on aspiring generations and emphasize the importance of Women’s History Month.