Grace Tame has officially responded to the attacks claiming she should have “smiled” and “been polite to” Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and as always she’s skipped the PR games and got straight to the point.
In case you missed it, Grace Tame was attending the Australian of The Year ceremony when she was roped into a photo-op with the PM. While he smiled slimily, she gave him probably the most potent stank eye we’ve ever seen.
Women all over the country applauded Tame for refusing to indulge the PM, but others (mostly men) have called her every variation of petty, rude, bratty and childish you can think of. Because clearly all women should be grateful to be in the company of men and do everything within their power to keep those men comfortable and happy, right?
Well, Grace Tame has finally responded to the misogynistic (and ableist) backlash she’s faced over the last week, and as usual, it nails exactly what’s wrong with the way people are reacting to her.
“The survival of abuse culture is dependent on submissive smiles and self-defeating surrenders,” she wrote in a tweet.
“It is dependent on hypocrisy. My past is only relevant to the extent that I have seen—in fact I have worn—the consequences of civility for the sake of civility.”
In a follow up tweet she said: “What I did wasn’t an act of martyrdom in the gender culture war.
“It’s true that many women are sick of being told to smile, often by men, for the benefit of men. But it’s not just women who are conditioned to smile and conform to the visibly rotting status-quo. It’s all of us,” she wrote.
And that’s exactly it, isn’t it? While many women watching from the sidelines have praised Tame for refusing to smile, this is about more than the casual sexism every woman faces. It’s about the fact that teaching people (especially children) to hide their discomfort fosters the exact kind of environment that allows abusers to continue their actions.
If we teach kids (and adults, and everyone) to smile and be gracious and kind to people that make them uncomfortable and scared, all we are doing is further entrenching the civility politics that abusers already weaponise.
So yeah, Grace Tame’s actions are inspiring to every woman, no matter how powerful and professional, to ‘stick it to the man’. But more importantly, she’s challenging the rape culture that allowed the abuse she survived — which others have not. That’s the key take away here.