There’s a movement going on that is starting to connect women around the world. It is allowing us to share stories and tales of harassment we experience everyday on the streets of New York City and other major cities. Harassment that isn’t physical but that makes us want to crawl in our skins, run inside and hide, and sometimes hurt someone. This type of harassment is familiar to any woman who has walked outside her home minding her business in shorts, sweat pants, covered up head to toe (scarf included), or just plain old looking a hot mess. This type of harassment has no boundaries, no shame, and no apologies. Hash tag Stop Telling Women to Smile is moving through the country like a menstrual cycle moves through a group of women. A close friend and I recently went out and wheat pasted (a sticky mess made of flour and water) posters all around Soho in New York City. Like many others we are sick and tired of feeling like we cant leave our apartment without fear of getting a “aye beautiful,” “yo ma,” “smile,” or “hey darky,” (yep, real comment).
It was important to us to do this, even in the rain. This is something that affects us daily as young women in America and it wont go away unless something is said and done. Our statement to the world is easily spelt out by the words of Aretha: R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
If you want to learn more, check out the #STWTM site.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh will be bringing STWTS to Baltimore April 20-27th, as an artist with Open Walls Baltimore X, an international festival of site-specific street art, performance and installations in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District. Tatyana will install a large piece using portraits of local Baltimore women.
On April 21st at 6pm women from the city are encouraged to join Tatyana in a group discussion on street harassment. This will be a safe space for women, cis and trans, in the community to discuss their experiences with street harassment in Baltimore, and to be photographed for inclusion in Tatyana’s Baltimore installations, though this is not mandatory.
On Thursday, April 24th at 6pm, the Station North Chicken Box (1 W North Avenue) will host a public talk by Tatyana. This event is co-sponsored by Hollaback! Bmore, and is open to all. Hollaback! is a movement to end street harassment powered by a network of local activists around the world, who work together to better understand street harassment, to ignite public conversations, and to develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces