Friday, September 29, 2006

Male locker-room humour

---Update: I am going to "Do a Dave" here, and change this blogpost a little. I am doing that because talking to some of my colleagues reminded me that the way this reached the journalist may not have been as deliberate as the article presents it.---

This post has been written as a response to an article in Sunnmørsposten 29th of September, where the journalist claims I have attacked my colleagues in a blogpost.

To begin with I want to give a little English-Norwegian lesson.
locker-room = "garderobe"
men's room, loo, toilet, wc, bathroom (and I am certain a lot more words I never learned) = "do"

male locker-room humour = "herregarderobehumor", or as the article translates it in one case, "mannehumor."

And I want to point out that despite the journalist's use of "several" while he was talking to me and in the article, I don't believe he had been contacted by a majority, not even a significant minority of my male colleagues. The acts of one or two have created what is presented as a massive conflict.

When that's said: I obviously stepped on something sore in my post about my fear for losing my voice: Voice update. This sentence hurt one or two of my male colleagues in a bad way:
Scared enough that I am deeply unhappy about the male locker-room humour of our staff room, which I thought the last 15 years had made me deaf to.
I obviously hurt something badly enough that the owner(s) have been talking about this in the company of a journalist. As Norwegian readers can see from the article, some of my colleagues mentioned my blogpost to a journalist.

What can I say to these hurt individuals of the staff but: I am so sorry. I am so sorry I interpreted certain words as humour. I am so sorry I interpreted them as something particular for males. I am so sorry you felt so hurt by that blogpost. Want me to wear a scarlet B for Blogger? Want me to stop talking about my life, my feelings, my opinions?

Well... in that case, let me quote what Gunnar Bodahl-Johansen, cited as an expert on journalistic ethics in the article, told the journalist: "We must, in the name of freedom of speach, accept that people have their opinions of what happens in a college. It (the blogpost) did not mention private relations and did not expose private individuals, Bodahl-Johansen says."

And let me add:
I did not say that I had been to a meeting and been hurt by jokes told there. I never leaked what happened at the morning meeting in question. This is something the journalist got from the offended parties after the posting. What I did was to mention that a workplace where I until this fall was the only female researcher and teacher, permits a form of humour which is typical of male-dominated and male exclusive rooms. What a bomb.

I am so sorry I had to be the one to tell you.

7 comments: said...

Ooog. Gratulerer. Denne usannsynlig usaklige saken har nå funnet sin vei til Propaganda...

Torill said...

Og propaganda har forandret den til å bli enda verre.

Kari - the female viking said...

Herregud! Det skjer virkelig lite i nyhets-Norge når de klarer å bruke enda mer tid på denne agurken... Nei, Torill, stå på ditt! Overfølsomme kolleger ser det ut til å finnes overalt..;)

Dennis G. Jerz said...

I can't read the Norwegian, but I can see you're in an uncomfortable position, and I feel for you.

Torill said...

Thank you, Dennis.
Yes, it's uncomfortable, and I am not sure about how to deal with it. The person(s) who accuse me has said so much more about harassment and the internal life of the college than I ever did. Luckily, I am not alone and without support. In a while I will be able to deal with this with more ease, and if nothing else, it gave me an excellent example of how the media can distort truth and hide their sources behind the credo of journalistic integrity and the need to protect sources, while the individual going public through a blog is without defenses.

I am however censoring what I write even more carefully than I ever did. Freedom of speach may apply to bloggers, but we have no organisation or network to buffer us against such accusations as I have been subjected to.

Torill said...

Takk for denne gode analysen, Lars O. Haugen.

thomas said...

One would think that after having redesigned their newspaper and made it physically smaller, Sunnmørsposten would be stricter with what they publish. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case.