CA_Montreal massacre monument  I’m probably already reprinting to much, but frack it.  This shit is too important not to repeat.  Go to the Ottawa Citizen’s webpage and read the entire article by Shelly Page.


“I was 24, sent by the Toronto Star to write about the slaughter of female engineering students, all around my age; fourteen of them.

Looking back, I fear I sanitized the event of its feminist anger and then infantilized and diminished the victims, turning them from elite engineering students who’d fought for a place among men into teddy-bear loving daughters, sisters and girlfriends.

Twenty-five years later, as I re-evaluate my stories and with the benefit of analysis of the coverage that massacre spawned, I see how journalists— male and female producers, news directors, reporters, anchors — subtly changed the meaning of the tragedy to one that the public would get behind, silencing so-called “angry feminists.” We were “social gatekeeping,” as filmmaker Maureen Bradley later asserted in her 1995 film, Reframing the Montreal Massacre: A media interrogation.”


“That evening, I thawed my feet in my hotel and watched the late Barbara Frum, one of Canada’s most respected journalists, refuse to admit that the massacre was indeed an act of violence toward women.

“Why do we diminish it by suggesting that it was an act against just one group?” Frum asked on CBC’s The Journal.

Frum was puzzled that so many women insisted the massacre was a result of a society that tolerates violence against women.

“Look at the outrage in our society,” Frum said. “Where is the permission to do this to women?

“If it was 14 men would we be having vigils? Isn’t violence the monstrosity here?”

She refused to even utter the word feminist. But then, her neutralizing of feminist anger must have resonated, and perhaps was reflexive. Bradley, in her documentary, wondered about Frum’s stance: “Was it necessary to deny any shred of feminism in herself in order to get where she was in this bureaucratic, media institution, boys’ club?”

Bradley also pointed out that the national media did not cover an emotional vigil the day after the massacre, where there was an angry confrontation between Montreal feminists and male students from the Université de Montréal. It would have made great content. Intelligent women voicing their outrage. But the story didn’t make it out of campus newspapers and local TV coverage onto a national stage. This story was not allowed to resonate with angry women.

When I review the stories I wrote, I almost never used the word feminist; I never profiled the achievements of one of the slain engineering students or the obstacles she’d toppled. I never interviewed a single woman who was angry, only those who were merely sad. Why? No one told me what not to write, but I just knew, in the way I knew not to seem strident in a workplace where I’d already learned how to laugh at sexist jokes and to wait until a certain boss had gone for the day before ripping down Penthouse centrefolds taped on the wall near his desk.

My stories were restrained, diligent and cautious. For years, I remembered one of my sentences with particular pride. Reading it now, it shows everything that was wrong with how I covered the event:

They stood crying before the coffins of strangers, offering roses and tiger lilies to young women they never knew.

I turned the dead engineering students into sleeping beauties who received flowers from potential suitors.

I should have referred to the buildings they wouldn’t design, the machines they wouldn’t create and the products never imagined.

They weren’t killed for being daughters or girlfriends, but because they were capable women in a male-dominated field.

I should have written that then.”