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  • ‘Accused’ of Being a Woman: FemFest Explores Online Harassment

    A local feminist and former journalist says abuse and harassment faced by journalists, especially female journalists, is unacceptable and has to change.

    Recently, St. John’s Telegram reporter Tara Bradbury took on anonymous online trolls who for years have been filling comments sections with sexist comments. Their front page on Friday displayed abusive comments they’ve received as a way to confront the language and say “it’s not okay.”

    Zaren Healey White gave a presentation yesterday discussing feminism in online spaces as part of the first annual Femfest in St. John’s.

    White, a former web editor for VOCM, has herself dealt with such issues both through her work and her own feminist blog.

    She says people have to realize that it’s not just an issue for women to overcome or deal with. She says it’s everyone’s responsibility to stop the abuse.

    She says she found herself being “accused” of being a woman.

    There would be comments that would say “I can’t get my comment through, the moderator must be a woman.” She says it’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent hateful speech from going through, not only because it was her job.

    White says the notion that a woman is biased simply because she’s trying to do her job is very frustrating, and that similarly it’s unacceptable to think that Bradbury was biased while covering an event about feminism.

    She says female journalists who cover issues around feminism or violence against women are not inherently biased. She says those events can be covered by men and women. “It’s not a bias, it’s just a person doing their job.”

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