The Trolls Disappear in the Light: Swedish Experiences of Mediated Sexualised Hate Speech in the Aftermath of Behring Breivik
Feminist journalists have come to expect special resistance, and even threats, from men’s groups as part of their work as journalists. However, the biggest threats might not originate in men’s groups’ activities. A big threat currently comes from Internet trolls’ responses to individuals who engage in hate-provoked and hate-provoking attacks on women as women. This is exemplified in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, who blew up government buildings in Oslo in 2011 and murdered youth from the Labour Party at Utøya as part of his explicitly articulated xenophobic and misogynist campaign against the Islamification of Norway. His ideas are still being shared in social media responses to this tragedy across Nordic countries. This paper argues that this demonstrates that the harms to women and to society go well beyond the individual victims of an identifiable incident. Largely because of their role in condemning and rejecting the hateful ideas advanced across social media forums, troll responses to the Breivik tragedy constitute a particular threat to female and especially feminist journalists.
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