In case you missed it, some people got very angry at 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame because she refused to fake an emotion in order to soothe the ego of the man standing next to her.
Tame, a survival of sexual abuse and activist, met up with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of Australia Day. She shook his hand and said "g'day" but, to the absolute shock and horror of white men everywhere, did not smile.
Footage and photos made headlines all over the world, with conservatives in a spin over how "rude" and "childish" Tame had been for not smiling next to the Prime Minister.
A woman refusing to smile - can you even imagine the audacity of this chick?
Many are calling on her to be stripped of her Australian of the Year accolade and accusing her of not honouring it, wanting it or deserving it. The backlash has been vile, with people accusing her of being rude for not smiling without a hint of irony at their own shocking behaviour towards this woman.
The headline from the Beetoota Advocate below is one of the most Beetoota Advocate headlines ever — and it actually happened.
Grace Tame's behaviour fills me with hope. She was polite. She accepted the invitation, she shook his hand, she stood next to him for a photo. Good manners and people-pleasing are not the same thing so, before judging Grace Tame, familiarise yourself with the concepts.
If you want to talk about lack of manners, perhaps point out that Morrison addressed the Australian of the Year by her first name. "Hello, Grace," he said. No Ms Tame or anything, no attempt to show any deference for 2021's Australian of the Year.
Luckily, she did not say "hello Scott" or that would be a lot of more knickers to untwist. But she also did not smile. Tame has criticised Morrison on many occasions and to fake being glad to be in his presence would be hypocrisy. She is not a hypocrite.
It saddens me to admit that, in her place, I probably would have smiled. My generation was conditioned to behave that way, to show deference, to appease others instead of honouring and respecting our feelings.
I am so glad Grace Tame wasn't. I am so glad women younger than me are being taught differently.
I am hopeful that this signals a change. That young women know that they do not owe anyone their smiles, their pleasantries and much less their feelings.
If Grace Tame was a man, she would not be criticised for not smiling. His stony facial expression would not have made a single headline, that's just how he is, boys will be boys, the serious face matched the solemnity of the occasion. Except none of this would even need to be said because a man who doesn't smile is not a headline. But Grace Tame is a woman and smiling shows deference and how dare she not show deference to the man standing next to her?
Tame received the Australian of the Year award because she refused to be silenced. Now, many of the same people who hailed her a hero, want her to hide her feelings lest she make a man feel uncomfortable.
As Katharine Murphy writes in a Guardian piece, Tame, and the women of her generation, "have not been socialised to shut up when an authority figure (generally a man) is talking". This is why people like Grace Tame and other young women like Greta Thunberg make older men furious. How dare these women not show deference?
Grace Tame does not owe you, me, or Scott Morrison anything. And thank goodness she knows it.