Feminist of the Month: Grace Tame

Nominated by MISSives Guest Editor, Mannie Kaur Verma

Grace Tame needs no introduction. She also needs no advice on when to smile and when not to smile.  

Grace Tame is the future of feminism. She doesn’t fit into your typical pedigree of young girls who are conditioned to live politely and sit quietly. She hasn’t spent a day in her tenure as the Australian of the Year 2021, pleasing the powerful and popular, rather she has spent each day being as outspoken and candid as one can be. Her fierce advocacy for sexual assault survivors, her courage to share her own story of survival and her commitment to taking away the shame that sits at the feet of survivors and returning it to the predatory behaviour where it belongs has elevated the platform for all those who have suffered at the hands of heinous criminals. 

 As I write about Grace Tame, I am reminded that – because of her courage, bravery, and resilience – across all of Australia something is stirring. A new movement. A new revolution. A new feminism. A new era of powerful women.  

On 25 January 2022, when Grace Tame refused to smile at Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a photo divided the nation. The critics called her childish, distrustful, and ungracious. She was told that if she was unhappy, she should have stayed home. What the naysayers don’t understand is that this young woman was awarded the Australian of the Year because she refused to be silenced. She did not let the law silence her then and she will not let the media silence her rage now. The day Grace Tame chose not to smile at the man leading this nation is the day she managed to scream in the ears of every girl watching that it is okay to express your feelings; that it is okay to stand up against the powerful; and that it is okay to be who you are. 

Tame embodies what Clarissa Estes would describe, ‘the flame of the passionate life, the breath to speak what one knows, the courage to stand what one sees without looking away, the fragrance of the wild soul.’ May we learn from her. 

YWCA Australia wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work, live and play and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We recognise First Nations people as the custodians of the lands, seas and skies, with more than 60,000 years of wisdom, connection and relationship in caring for Country.

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