Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is an artist and freelance editorial illustrator in Brooklyn, originally from Oklahoma. Last year, twenty-seven year old Fazlalizadeh started to use street art to speak out against a women’s issue that is frequently ignored – verbal street harassment.
Stop Telling Women to Smile is a series of guerrilla wheat pastes that depict women’s faces, challenging and enaging in dialogue with the city. They can be found in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Clinton Hill, and Williamsburg, as well as some parts of South Philly.
Fazlalizadeh told The New York Times,
The project grew out of a desire to explain that for many women, “hey sweetums” or “let’s see that smile” isn’t a compliment. “These things make you feel like your body isn’t yours
Often we speak of more private concerns of the home or the workplace and ignore public spaces festering with sexism. Street harassment has been something that women deal with on a daily basis, on the way work in broad daylight and walking home late at night. For some women, to be whistled at can be validating. For others, it can be frightening and objectifying. Either way, Fazlalizadeh believes that it is not a consensual interaction.
Her artist statement regarding the piece reads:
A lot of people will not agree with this project. A lot of people, men AND women, will not understand it. And that’s okay. This project is not asking for there to be zero interaction between men and women in public spaces – it’s asking for the interaction to be respectful and safe. This project is not to persuade women to feel offended. Rather, this project is for those who do feel offended by unwelcome aggressive treatment from men.
Read the rest of her statement and view more of her work at her website and Tumblr.