Calling Out Cat-Callers

In the Fall of 2012, illustrator/artist, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, began an art series in an attempt to address street harassment by plastering the faces and voices of harassed women around Brooklyn, New York. With the combination of her portraiture and the stories of those who have been harassed by cat callers, Stop Telling Women to Smile was born and has thus grown into a traveling series.

Tatyana started out by personally sitting down with a friend or colleague to discuss their story, draw their portrait and then create a poster with text that embodied their story. The posters were then randomly distributed and pasted to any barren surfaces in the city area that would allow the pedestrian public to see and read their messages. Today, Tatyana is traveling across the United States to meet, photograph, draw and talk with women from different regions, cities and neighborhoods about their experiences with harassment. The point is not only to make this series a wide-spread movement, but to also learn of the different experiences and ways in which street harassment is both perceived and enacted.

Let’s face it ladies, whether it’s a boy slyly touching your waist as you walk through a night club or a man “hey baby”-ing you at a bus stop, you’re fed up. You can throw a drink in his face or simply walk away but does it always get the message across? There’s no guarantee that cat calling and sexual harassment will ever end, but if numbers grow, so may results. You shouldn’t have to be afraid of men. You shouldn’t have to be conscious of what you’re wearing. You shouldn’t be objectified and degraded whenever you simply go out for a walk. And fellas, this is to you to. You may approach a women with good intentions and the utmost respect, but her negative association with your gender will leave you rejected, and that’s not fair. You may even have a girlfriend/wife/sister/etc. who has experienced street harassment when you weren’t around to protect them. This is why I encourage you all, women AND men, to join Tatyana’s Stop Telling Women to Smile project.
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