Stop Telling Women To Smile is a short video that needs to be watched. It addresses an issue that so many women face, but is often not articulated as well as the people in this video— or the artist capturing them— are able to do do. “Stop Telling Women to Smile is an art series by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh,” the description explains. “The work attempts to address gender based street harassment by placing drawn portraits of women, composed with captions that speak directly to offenders, outside in public spaces.”
Fazlalizadeh interviewed different women about their experience with street harassment before creating the portrait and caption to match. The series personalizes the issue of catcalling, which is a form of harassment that is too often considered acceptable— and even normal. Listening to these people who are scared to walk down certain streets, who are called a ‘b*tch’ if they ignore a catcall but a ‘whore’ if they respond, and seeing their frustrations is such an important insight. The slogans, like “Women are not here for your entertainment” and “I am SO not here for you”, publicize a frustration that many women experience. Maybe, confronted with these images, the people doing the catcalling will get the message.
This is all about how women’s bodies are consumed and are considered public property for display, comment and consumption,” Fazlalizadeh told the New York Times. “Women need to start talking about their daily moments because it’s the smaller stuff that affects the larger things, like rape, domestic violence, harassment in the workplace.”
You can see the whole video here:
It’s amazing how many people still do not think twice about screaming whatever they want at a woman— and berating her if she doesn’t reply. It happens all the time— in big cities and smaller towns— and it’s not OK. And at least women like Fazlalizadeh are doing something to stop it.