stop telling women to smile

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Brooklyn artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh has named her latest project just that. Her pieces are placed in public areas where street harassment has taken place, and speaks directly to its perpetrators.

Telling women what expression they should have on, calling them pet names, and blowing them uninvited kisses from across the street are not compliments. To be fair, some women do find pleasure in these unsolicited advances, however MOST OF US DON’T. It wouldn’t be called street harassment if it was consensual.

You can’t know someone simply because you walk past them on the street. You have no idea their history, their stories, what may trigger them. A flirty wave to a woman may certainly be uplifting to some, while to others these advances may remind them of horrific forced sexual experiences. 

Our bodies do not exist as separate entities from the experiences that comprise us. A short skirt and a tight halter top does not mean the wearer wants to fuck. Maybe it’s a really hot day. Maybe it’s laundry day. Maybe she is trying to get men’s attention. Maybe she’s trying to get that cute chick to notice her. Maybe she just thinks she looks good. And all of these reasons are okay. But it is certainly no man’s position to make any assumption. 

“I’m a man, I’m supposed to [call out to women]. I mean, I think every man, if they see a woman they feel is attractive, should try to do what they can to acquire this woman.”

Men, how about the ladies all around you? How about you start complimenting your sisters, tell your mom she looks nice, and mention to the girls you spend time with how funny they are? How about you let your female co-worker know that her idea was indeed a great one? 

Started in 2012 and becoming national in scope, for the price of printing and shipping, you can receive posters to put up around your city too. 

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