For a bit of context let me say that I am now an aging feminist. Women’s Liberation erupted when I was at University in the late 60’s, and was very welcome. I had been sufficiently fortunate to have a very progressive and unusual father who did not believe in sexism, racism or any form of “otherism.” However until the re-introduction of some form of feminism it was very difficult for me to expect or demand any form of equality anywhere other than at home.
Men and boys were generally disdainful and patronising and life was difficult and full of arguments with males talking down to me, some females insisting they weren’t unequal, and other females insisting that they didn’t want to be equal – I guess the latter were the religious ones who believed in the biblical doctrine of male Headship. I was also extremely fortunate that I never had a job, but always ran my own business allowing me freedom from the many workplace inequalities and harassment that plague most women.
Slowly but surely during my lifetime feminism has become better understood and accepted, but here we are over 50 years later still without equality of opportunity or pay, too many of us harassed at work and/or raped anywhere and/or being beaten and killed by male partners, so it is with absolutely the greatest pleasure that I have witnessed Grace Tame at work during her twelve months as Australian of the Year. She has been amazing, not just because she is only 27, but she has brought a grit and toughness with grace and ease to the position as though she is an Academy Award winning movie star who has had to deal with cameras and publicists all her life. I salute her in all that she says and all that she does!
For a long time I had been concerned that too few young females understand enough about the issues to continue the fight when we oldies are gone, but during these depressing Covid-smashed couple of years a wonderful trio of young women have come to prominence, engaging the media and public attention and progressing the movement forward in a great gallop. So along with Grace Tame I salute Chanel Contos and Brittany Higgins.
That Grace Tame refused to smile at our disappointing, shallow prime minister was very brave, and that she calls him Scott, mirroring his rude patronising style of calling all women by their first name only (including his wife, known to all of us as Jenny who seems to be his guru on all things female) absolutely makes the point about the continued patronising of all women at all levels. The response to her not smiling has been ridiculous. If she were a male would it have made the front pages had he not smiled?
Let’s not forget how thoroughly women are abused at all levels by men with a sense of entitlement –
- The work place harasser who is so egotistical that he thinks his unwanted and unreturned vile sexual innuendos at every opportunity are wanted and attractive, when they and he are just disgusting
- A parent who can be brutal and cruel, beating and bashing his daughter and then climbing into her bed
- Paedophiles who can be a stranger or a teacher or coach, or a friend of the family or relative who grooms a child for his own perverted pleasure and may be or become a murderer
- Rapists who can be anyone from a good friend to a skulking stranger who strikes from nowhere and may also be a serial murderer
- The partner who controls her every move, cuts her off from friends and family, emotionally abuses her and may even murder her and their children
Grace Tame is brave, courageous and bold. I thank her and salute her. She is assertive and clear and very affirmative. How does she do that? When I am confronted by an arsehole male such as Scummo I get cross or even angry. I have put up with their shit for 70 years and I won’t tolerate it for a moment more. But we women are not permitted to be angry. We are “allowed” to be hurt or upset but never angry. Try telling a male that you are angry with him, then you’ll really see angry. No just stick with upset, then you’re safe. I find that hard but getting angry does not endear me to anyone nor win me many arguments. Obviously I need more Grace!
I watched these two brilliant young women at The National Press Club today, and was so impressed, particularly by Brittnay Higgins. I knew about Grace Tame’s brilliance but today I saw that same steely grit with Ms Higgins, every word important and every point significant and unarguable.
These two women were just a notch below angry, certainly VERY affirmative and fairly aggressive. Perhaps this too is part of the forward gallop for women – to be able to show annoyance and even anger at something so monumentally imperative as the plight of all abused women and the inability of governments to DO SOMETHING TO STOP THE ABUSE AND MURDER!
**Since writing this blog I sent a letter, to The Sydney Morning Herald, and an excerpt was published on 15th February 2022. Below is the original letter in its entirety.
Jenny Morrison is still carping on about Grace Tame’s lack of “manners and respect” (as per report of 60 minutes interview 14th Feb). “Jenny” says she was “welcoming her into her own home” as though it was a private party, when it was an official event at an official residence owned by the people of Australia. That Grace Tame refused to smile when meeting our Prime Minister, who has a very poor record when it comes to women’s issues, was very brave. That she calls him Scott, mirroring his rude, patronising style of calling all women by their first name only (including his wife who is known to us all as “Just Jenny” and who seems to be his guru on all things female) absolutely makes the point about his continued patronising of all women at all levels, which itself is unmannerly. The response to her not smiling has been ridiculous. If she were a male would it have made the front page if “he” did not smile? Grace Tame is standing up for all women and girls, one third of whom will be abused, assaulted and maybe even murdered. It is not a smiling matter.