Photo of the Day: “Stop telling women to smile”

Stop telling women to smile poster before and after being defaced

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s “Stop Telling Women to Smile” poster in the Krog Street Tunnel in Atlanta was almost immediately defaced with a smile and the words “Force It.”

This weekend when I was running in my neighborhood in Atlanta, I was excited to come across one of artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh‘s “Stop Telling Women to Smile” posters freshly plastered on the side of the Krog Street Tunnel. Fazlalizadeh’s anti-street harassment public art project, which we’ve covered before, started in Brooklyn, has spread to several major American cities, and just yesterday graced the pages of The New York Times.

As the Times feature notes, the particular poster I snapped a photo of on Saturday (on left) had been defaced by Sunday night with a smile spray-painted over Fazlalizadeh’s face and the words “Force It” scrawled underneath. I went back to check it out today and found the defacement now seems to have been defaced (as seen in the photo to the right). As Fazlalizadeh says, “Visual art, especially, is right in your face.” And public art, especially, gives you a chance to see the reactions it sparks — both good and bad.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation