Stop Telling Women To Smile

March 22, 2013 by
stop-teelingme-to-smile
ArtWomen's Rights

Have you ever been walking down the street, lost in thought, when all of a sudden someone shouts out to you, “Smile”? We’re not talking about your mother or a photographer, but rather a total stranger, a man just walking by. He thinks it’s charming, or a nice thing to say, but on the contrary this type of heckling can be disarming and is even considered by many as “gender based street harassment”. It is this type of experience that inspired artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh to create the Stop Telling Women to Smile project.

Street harassment is an issue that affects women worldwide and includes catcalls, sexist remarks, groping, leering, stalking and assault. In an informal study conducted by the organization Stop Street Harassment, almost 99% of women surveyed have been harassed a few times, and over 65% said they were harassed on at least a monthly basis.

Stop Telling Women to Smile is designed to bring women’s voices and faces to the street, to provoke a conversation and bring awareness to the prevalence of the problem.

My Name Is Not baby“The project is saying that street harassment is not okay. That feeling entitled to treat and speak to women any type of way, is not okay. That requesting for a woman to “smile for you” is not okay – because women are not outside on the street for the purpose of entertaining and pleasing men. Women just want to move throughout the world comfortable and safely, while wearing their face however the hell they want to,” explains Tatyana.

We couldn’t agree more!


Tatyana FazlalizadehArtist Statement

I’m a portrait painter. I want to communicate social and political ideas to the viewer of my work through the eyes of the other human being shown in my painting.

To learn more about the Stop Telling Women to Smile project check out Tatyana’s blog here or follow her on Twitter.

  • emilykrm

    LOVE this project. I have a naturally sulky mouth and strangers have been telling me to smile all my life. It’s such an intrusion from someone who doesn’t even know me. This is what my face looks like. It’s fine the way it is. I’m just trying to get from point A to point B. Making my face look more pleasing you along the way is not my concern.

  • emilykrm

    LOVE this project. I have a naturally sulky mouth and strangers have been telling me to smile all my life. It’s such an intrusion from someone who doesn’t even know me. This is what my face looks like. It’s fine the way it is. I’m just trying to get from point A to point B. Making my face look more pleasing you along the way is not my concern.

  • ECF

    I am a woman, and I think this is silly. To equate a man asking you to smile with being fondled or assaulted is beyond overreaction. I consider myself a strong and independent woman, and wouldn’t let such a small insignificant thing effect me in such a large way. If someone annoys me, I ignore them and continue living my life. Also, I’ve been told by women to smile as well, so everyone should be included in this, not just men.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002297351727 Xüãn M. Mãttã

    I am a Man, the serious looking type of Man and I have also been told by Woman to smile. I understand it when they say it to me because they say that I look so serious and that I should smile, no harm intended there I guess. but what should I do when a female (Cause no male has ever even mention it) ask me to smile? sue her? feminism has reach the point of paranoia I tell you!

    PS. I do understand that there may be cases in which the person is been invasive but c’mon, most people say it in a nice way and mean no harm!