Yle’s investigation: Why do women in public arouse rage?

It was a beautiful September morning and a reporter Maria Veitola poured himself another cup of coffee. He opened his laptop and logged in to Twitter as usual to read the comments he had been tagged in.

So much for that nice morning.

"I don’t have to put up with this," he thought. The Twitter account disappeared at the touch of a button. Veitola felt liberated, relieved… even angry.

A little over a year has passed since his decision, and he has not repented for a moment. Veitola had one reason to remove a tool that Finnish journalists are said to be essential to their work: Misogyny.

A well-known fact in the media industry is that women are attracted to more nonsense than men, but why does a woman on television arouse rage?

“Witch and the Feminist Whore”

Veitola is used to the fact that even if he does anything, someone feels provoked. Few journalists in Finland evoke as much emotion as Veitola.

"An evil witch, a feminist whore who destroyed Tomi Metsäketolife," This is how Veitola describes the most typical comment he receives on Twitter.

The Metsäketo reference is related to Poplaulaja’s resignation Stars, Stars TV show in 2017. Veitola became the scapegoat for his kick after collecting statements from women about Metsäketo’s potentially inappropriate behavior, which he publicly apologized for (four of his prosecutors were later fined for defamation).

Veitola says he often receives private messages about how nauseous a person he is. It’s like being Maria Veitola with all the colorful photos and celebrities on her MTV3 show. In a night village with Maria Veitola. It has had revealing interviews with people like the prime minister Sanna Marin (SDP) and the Foreign Minister Paavo Haavisto (Green).

Veitola inventories the violations so objectively that it sounds like there isn’t even any harm in them. Can you get used to anger or strangers?

The answer is no. In August, Veitola released a public update on Facebook and Instagram, in which he said he was the target of a social media attack that made him fearful, anxious, and depressed: "My sin: I am an independent woman. I dress the way I want; I say what I want."

Leena-Maija Rossi, A docent in gender studies at the University of Helsinki, says that this is the question. Women’s standards of behavior have always been different from men’s. There is less room for maneuver or dress.

Sometimes there is no swing space at all. For example, if a female expert smiles, she is unprofessional. If he doesn’t, he’s too serious.

Female hatred may sound like a strong term, but if sex causes bitterness and disgust, that is its definition. Rossi has also decided not to follow publications marked on her name on social media. Writing about feminism is too explosive.

Racism and women’s hatred go hand in hand

Racism and hatred of women also led the human rights activist and journalist Ujuni Ahmed to delete their Twitter account. Ahmed produced Somali coronavirus news for Yle in the spring of 2020 and also acted as a news anchor.

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Ujuni AhmedYle

In addition to criticism from the Finnish majority population, he also received unpleasant comments about his own community: Both focused on his appearance. Minority community comments focused on her overly western dress standards. They felt that Ahmed did not give a true picture of the women.

Comments from the majority population criticized him for using the scarf and focused their anger on Ahmed’s cultural heritage.

"In modern society, being a Somali is a curse. I think the feedback was different from other non-linguistic," says Ahmed.

Again, few react to the actual content of the news. The mere fact that Ahmed was on television caused rage. It seemed particularly deflating when Ahmed himself had presented Somali-language news to Yle so that Finns with an immigrant background could receive important information about the pandemic.

A woman’s agency has always been limited and precisely defined. Failure to follow the rules will result in punishment, he says Tuija Saresma, Assistant Professor of Cultural and Gender Studies at the University of Jyväskylä. A modern form of punishment is commenting on social media.

"The norm is still a straight, white man. Therefore, Ujuni Ahmed as a woman with a Somali background wearing a scarf was too much for many," says Saresma.

In the midst of a flood of comments, Ahmed felt lonely. He was required to collect messages and tweets and make crime reports as he ran in smoke. The workplace did not have sufficient resources to deal with the anger directed at him.

Veitola also says that people at the top, such as producers and bosses, "put their heads in the sand" when hostile feedback is at its worst. There is no know-how and no means to protect women, she says.

"It’s very lonely, " Veitola decides.

Who has the right to publicity?

Reetta Räty has seen the dirty side of TV production. The most interesting phenomenon for an experienced journalist is who has the right to publicity. Räty hosts a fan favorite News leak (Yle’s version of the UK quiz Do I have any news for you?) in 2019. In his case, comments focused mostly on tooth damage, age, sound, and speech rate caused by a car accident.

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Reetta Räty
Reetta RätyAntti Haanpää / General

Räty says that her feelings and experiences are irrelevant in the end, but she wants to bring out the hatred of women in Finnish culture so that things can change. According to Räty, women are seen as forcing themselves into their roles in television or in positions of power, while men are there by nature.

"Women annoy people to rage with their mere existence: doing or not doing, laughing or being serious. It’s hard for me to imagine that we shouldn’t talk about" he says.

Women’s experiences are downplayed

Experience is almost always underestimated if a woman is a public figure, has risen to leadership or an expert role. Noise from Marini’s background as a cashier and term in the store "lipstick board" Her mostly young women’s cabinet are good examples of this.

It feels like a woman has to constantly justify her own position and present her resume.

This is an annoying thing for Veitola. He has published two books and worked as a journalist for magazines, television and radio since 1994, including three years as editor-in-chief of Radio Helsinki – but he is not always considered a serious journalist.

Veitola noticed the most glaring difference in the attention paid to the three hosting suppliers Veitola, Enbuske & Salminen program on MTV. Tuomas Enbuske and Roope Salminen was often praised for insightful questions and in-depth interviews, although positive feedback about Veitola was always related to his appearance.

If the people who despise you are your colleagues, it feels worse.

After an interview with Veitola in a journalist’s publication Supplier last year a rock critic Arttu Seppänen tweeted: "Wait, I’m confused, at what point did Maria Veitola become a journalist?"

"The tweet was poorly worded and I didn’t know about Veitola’s background," Seppänen tweeted later.

Change for the better?

Without safety nets, none of the interviewees believes they have survived. Supporting women in the industry is a great consolation to women journalists. Räty, for example, was contacted by several other women working on television even before the onset of the flood of criticism. They warned him that the feedback would be terrible, but support is there and it is always available.

Veitola has also seen a change for the better in the general work culture. Women have gotten into leadership roles and many of them understand that women who are in the midst of hate speech should not be left alone.

However, the night before the first publication of this story in Finnish, Veitola sent a message: "As this fall progresses, I realize that I fear for my safety." For the first time, Veitola had given in to his fears.

It turns out that female hatred doesn’t just go away. Not women either.

Based on an article by Iida Rauhalammi, which was published on Yle’s Kulttuuricocktail TV program on October 31.

Source: The Nordic Page


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