Tatyana Fazlalizadeh doesn’t mess around when it comes to her art; much like her message, she’s too straightforward to bother with covert symbolism and instead, would prefer to get right to the point. In this case, Fazlalizadeh’s point is that like most women, she’s had her fill of street harassment.
Globally, public sexual harassment is a pervasive problem that violates women’s sense of safety, their right to privacy and their ability to move through public spaces freely. Even in its most seemingly innocuous incarnations, street harassment remains a somewhat socially accepted display of gender discrimination.
While there’s nothing wrong with saying “hello” to a stranger on the street, women face the unique challenges of enduring public, unsolicited appraisals of their bodies and their attire, in addition to being followed, threatened or touched.
Fazlalizadeh hopes her latest public art project, titled “Stop Telling Women to Smile,” at the very least sparks a discussion about why that’s not okay.
Photo: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh