Stop Telling Women to Smile: A Public Art Project

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is a Brooklyn based artist on mission to fight street harassment across the globe. Based in part on her own experiences with street harassment, but also a collection of stories from women she knows, the “Stop Telling Women to Smile” posters she created have appeared in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, receiving much well deserved attention.

But it’s not stopping there. Fazlalizadeh has a vision for taking this project across the country, and potentially international. To do this, she needs some help. So last week she launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money that will go toward materials and travel expenses, in order to take this innovative use of art as social activism to different cities across America.

On the Kickstarter page, Fazlalizadeh said: “As a portrait artist I wanted to use the images of women, personal friends and colleagues of mine, to humanize women in the public spaces – giving faces and voices to the bodies that are sexualized on the street.”With the number of Kickstarter campaigns that get started everyday, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to be asked to donate to so many. But there are still some important enough that it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Fazlalizadeh told The Daily Beast back in August:

Many people feel entitled to women’s emotions or expressions, particularly in the public space. Men often tell a woman to smile or initiate a conversation with a woman without her wanting to respond. She doesn’t owe you anything; she can move around the world however she wants to without having to feel like she has some responsibility to give something to someone else, to a stranger.

This project is one step in helping make public spaces safe and comfortable for everyone of all genders. If you can, lend your support.


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