Gay Mackie

Women, We Should Extend the Olive Branch Along with the Finger

I feel the reason why we women don’t really see change is that we’re trying to convince the wrong people. Today, I feel we need to do something bold, but necessary.


As a woman who has seen many changes, some crucial, some not much, my views about the place of women in the future are quite irrelevant. Tomorrow doesn’t belong to me, yesterday does. However, it is today that I want to talk about.

I’ve recently decided to climb over a long-held resistance to technology, and I’ve decided to keep an eye on the response to the news cycle (which is as interesting as it is stupid). I’ve quickly noticed a pattern in the gender schism.

So, it seems to me, when days like this rolls around, the volume of our discourse is ratcheted. We seem to yell to get our point across to the opposite, which, in turn, makes the opposite tune out. So, we yell louder. I understand we need to be loud to be heard, but I fear it’s the scale of our volume that enables continued silence of who we’re trying to convince, those who own the days after today.

Our everyday fight, it seems, is fought in comment boxes. Which I feel narrows our scope and really inhibits the change we aim to bring. We’re attempting to reach the antagonistic strangers, the man in the street that follows us home. As preparation for this piece, my grandson sent me an article related to the taxing of tampons. In the comment section underneath it, someone derided the collective resistance to the tax, articulating his point using the most childish of English. In response, the critics got louder and it seems that he just stopped commenting. Victory won, right?

Battle, yes. War, no.

His mental battlements were probably just built higher, reinforced by the noise of the angriest of strangers. But alongside the finger today, I suggest we also extend the olive branch.


That is our true challenge today. Changing the minds of those we know personally.


That being said, if we’d all rather remain angry, that’s fine, but I suggest we should find that someone close to our hearts, but perhaps far from our graces. Those feelings we know hidden behind a familiar face, possible dialogue muted by the fear of upsetting the social apple cart. Someone who perhaps might have said something half-drunk or half-joking. Those we decided to leave it, because it was easier, not worth ruining the event it was unearthed at. That is our true challenge today. Changing the minds of those we know personally. It might be macro and it might seem insignificant, but individually, it means everything. One mind changed is change earned. Collectively, sure, batter down the political doors of tomorrow, but individually, our forum is brunch or movie nights or coffee.

Perhaps today should be equal parts the collective vociferous push toward equality and a day of peaceful forum. Not with a closed fist, but an open palm. Asking those we know what they do and what they don’t. The sharing of empathy is often the bridge to understanding and ignorance is often only held by the finest strand of assumption, tied by a mental knot of oh, I didn’t know that.

But it works both ways too. To those men reading this who are very quietly rankled by the tone of anger but also want us to stop, the only thing you have to do today is to ask and really hear what we’re saying.


Gay Mackie

Gay Mackie is a retired print journalist who spends her time at yoghurt, tap dancing, and asleep between the hours of 2-4pm. She'd also like to make it clear that The Big Smoke Australia Editor-in-Chief is her grandson.

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