I used to think I was the only one who was stopped by random men and told to smile. But recently, I found out it's a common thing that women deal with, and there's an art series and street campaign that's attempting to teach would-be harassers to rethink their actions. In 2012, Brooklyn illustrator/painter Tatyana Fazlalizadeh started "Stop Telling Women to Smile," a series of large-scale posters, featuring portraits of women with instructive anti-harassment captions, that she wheatpasted in public places. To further help spread the message, Fazlalizadeh has taken her series on the road, creating city-specific posters, installing them across the country and abroad, and asking for help from local women who want to be involved in her campaign.
Locally, the "Stop Telling Women to Smile" exhibit will show at Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland, where last month, Fazlalizadeh was an artist-in-residence and led workshops and discussions about gender-based street harassment. The resulting show, which opens this Friday, March 7, will feature new works created during the workshops, along with posters from previous city campaigns.
Fazlalizadeh will not be at Friday's opening, but if you're interested in meeting the artist, she'll be back at the gallery on March 20 to lead a panel discussion on women and street art. "Stop Telling Women to Smile" runs through April 17.
Photos via Stop Telling Women To Smile