March 1st, 2022Just sayin’…
WOW. I just watched the National Press Club piece with Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame.
They were both fantastic but Grace Tame is amazingly fierce. And a fantastic speaker and very happily shoved it to mainstream media, politicians and people in power generally. Really worth a watch on iview.
I also loved watching Grace, as the outgoing Australian of the Year, refusing to smile at a photo opp with ScoMo at The Lodge a couple of weeks earlier than the press club address.
There was a lot of debate over that. Some people thought she was being surly while others couldn’t see why a woman had to smile all the time. Surely smiling is a choice. Pretty much like shaking hands.
I think if women smiled less when they felt they were in a power imbalance situation, or just feeling uncomfortable, the world would be a better place. If no means no, then if you don’t feel like smiling, don’t do it. And if you want, speak up.
In my day (I sound really old now) children were pretty much seen and not heard. Girls smiled at the right times, even when your overly touchy relative went in for a sloppy kiss, and never complained when we got a doll for Christmas even though we wanted the Meccano set.
As I hit my teens I continued to smile. When I got my first job at Myer at 16 I smiled when an older woman strode over to pick up the phone, on my first day, asking “are you deaf?”
When I started my journalist cadetship I smiled when the editor threw a sheaf of papers at me, with my story meticulously typed on them, hitting the back of my head, and roaring “this is shit, do it again”.
I even smiled when I was asked to go to a grieving father, who had just lost his son in a car accident the night before, to ask “how are you feeling”. Known in the media as the death knock. Luckily the manager of the newspaper stepped in and overrode the editor’s request. I was just 20.
One day I stopped smiling and found my inner Grace. I was working on a community newspaper out of Melbourne, all grown up at about 30, and listened as the advertising manager asked her new recruit, a young girl, to show a bit more cleavage. You know, get the interest of the client. I was the one who roared then.
I think I have been pretty much roaring at all and any injustices that come my way. I have worked my way through the health system at various times for a number of family members, I have “won” a case in the Coroner’s Court, just me up against a barrister, although you never really win in that court.
I have managed to get myriad refunds for people who struggle to get to the right person or have been told they can have a replacement when consumer law clearly says you have the right to a refund, repair or replacement – and the customer’s choice.
And I would also like to think, through various roles in the media, I have helped people and organisations to have their say and sometimes break through the red tape of bureaucracy for a win.
It’s tiring at times but it is also rewarding and I wouldn’t have it any other way, I enjoy keeping the bastards honest.
And I only smile now when I want to. If I see you and smile, under the mask, it’s genuine. And I hope the same in return. Life is too short for bullshit. If you don’t like me, great, but be consistent.
When I watched Grace choose not to smile, I thought “good on you” and I imagined she would be a great example to young girls and boys, choosing their facial expressions and keeping it real.
But then I saw this from a friend on Facebook.
It’s part of a certificate of merit given out by a school to a girl who is perhaps five or six. And in the photo she is smiling away, holding her piece of paper, so pleased to have an award for smiling. And the comments under the photo run along the lines of “Oh sweetie you’re such a good girl” and “keep smiling”.
I wonder what Grace Tame would make of that award. Just saying…