Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s Street Art Confronts Sexual Harassment

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh - Street Arttatyana fazlalizadeh - street art

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh - Street Art

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a Brooklyn-based painter and illustrator, responds to street harassment by creating dialogues through art in public places. Stop Telling Women To Smile, a series of portraits depict strong willed women responding to catcalls or inappropriate comments.

This series, which has been fostering solid conversations since it’s 2012 NY inception, is simple in its assertion, yet complex in the response. Madison Carlson of Feminspire addresses some male reactions the work has evoked, one of which involved a penis being drawn on the woman’s face. The New York Times additionally notes: “Andrés Carlos, 50, stood by the freshly pasted posters on Tompkins Avenue. ‘A woman likes nothing more than being told she is beautiful,’ he said. ‘For me, this is ridiculous.'”

But, Fazlalizadeh and Carlson disagree with Carlos. This is not about beauty, but control. Carlson asserts, “Yelling or whistling at a woman on the street like she’s a dog who will come when you call, or telling a woman to ‘Smile. It can’t be that bad. You’d be so much prettier if you smiled,’ dehumanizes her. It reduces her purpose to pleasing the male gaze. The posters, answering that reduction with confrontation, are meant to show street harassers that they are not entitled to women’s smiles or any other part of them.”

What do you think?


Tatyana Fazlalizadeh - Street Art  Tatyana Fazlalizadeh - Street Art Tatyana Fazlalizadeh - Street Art Tatyana Fazlalizadeh - Street Art Tatyana Fazlalizadeh - Street Art

Advertise here !!!

  • Sum Yung Guy

    These posters have the cringe-worthy preachyness of a CBS Cares commercial. Women have no idea how arrogant and unrelatable their “plight” of being admired, visually, is to men. If i had random girls harassing me in the streets for being devilishly handsome, i’d enjoy the hell out of it. Sure i might get a little tired of it, but only in the way that celebrities get tired of being recognized and harassed. Women have the power of celebrities over men, for no reason, and they hate it.

  • E is for Empathy

    Right, and if strangers that were physically larger and physically stronger were the ones making such unsolicited comments towards you, how would you feel? It sounds like you’re a hetero male who has a healthy interest in women. I’m going to ask you – how would you like it if homosexual men harassed you on the streets every day? When you’re walking alone, minding your own business, trying to get home. Not in a club, not at a party, not with friends.

    You say “Women have the power of celebrities over men” – let’s take a sports metaphor. The trophy is what the athletes compete for, but it has no power, it’s just there the prize. Power? How about the ref? No one ever makes -that- comparison. Why?

    “Power” implies respect. There is NO respect at all in such comments.

  • This Crazy World

    Let’s see, men are still doing this? I agree with her entire premise even if it saddens me that after all these years there has been no progress towards more positive approaches to addressing a Black woman. The kicker (somebody tell me if this still occurs) is that they have the nerve to be mad if you ignore them or tell them you’re not interested in a polite (but firm) tone. Then you get called all kinds of names and such. Grow the **** up! Young guys (unfortunately) get a pass but I experienced this from much older men 30+ as well. At some point you have to grow up. Glad I found a good man and got married. I feel sorry for young ladies today…

  • worldpeacecutie

    Only disrespectful ignorant losers who are trying to use & or hurt women/girls do this show despicable unwanted behavior every time their around the opposite gender .

  • Elisabeth M

    “A woman likes nothing more than being told she is beautiful”?!

    I can think of lots of things I like more.