Since I was a kid, I’ve been told the field of journalism was an old boys club and I’d be looked down on for being a woman.
As a young woman about to enter the media world I can’t help but realize this statement, although sexist, has a touch of reality attached to it.
There’s a stigma around women speaking up due to sexual harassment in the workplace, especially in the media world. Take CHCH reporter Britt Dixon for example. Last November, Dixon visited Mohawk College to cover a story. As she was in the middle of an interview, a male student yelled an obscene comment behind her. Later on, Dixon encountered the same behaviour outside of the college before going live on the air.
Dixon took to Twitter to talk about the incident only to receive backlash for speaking up about her experience.
“Repeating a phrase to interrupt a newscast is not sexual harassment. It’s not directed at you,” said Twitter user @KingBong420_69.
“#FirstWorldProblems wow world’s on the brink of war, artic [sic] is melting, people starving all over the world but someone yelled a bad statement… do you cry when someone gives you the finger in traffic? #growup,” said Twitter user @Roosterinchains.
This type of behaviour, and shaming women in general for speaking up doesn’t make sense to me. If these men had daughters and someone yelled the disgusting phrase in their face I highly doubt they would tell their daughters to “grow up.”
This is the other part of the problem. There’s no belief for these women being harassed, and why is that? Why does society turn its back on a problem that is clearly before its eyes?
I’m uneasy to start my career in the field because of these types of people. What am I supposed to do if I encounter this type of harassment? I’ve already walked out of a serving job because of crude comments and inappropriate behaviour, and when I spoke up I was laughed at by not only the perpetrators but by my own male managers.
What am I supposed to do when I have my dream job and this type of harassment happens to me? Am I just supposed to laugh it off and pretend it’s some type of joke? Or do I stand up for myself with the knowledge that I’ll be publicly shamed for it later on?
Why is it that people think it’s hysterical to yell at someone while they’re performing their job? As journalists, our office is where the situation is, whether it is on the street corner where the three-car accident took place or downtown outside of the house where a shooting happened. Why is it appropriate to interrupt our work and create a hostile work environment with sexual comments? I highly doubt these people would enter a lawyer’s office, yell derogatory terms and run out of the room as fast as they can. So why is it acceptable for this to happen to female journalists when all they’re doing is their job?
I’ve always believed the news was supposed to be unbiased, informative, and factual, not comical and derogatory against one specific gender. It’s 2018 for crying out loud, why isn’t proper and acceptable behaviour the automatic standard?