Stop Telling Women to Smile
Directed by Dean Peterson (2014)
Stop Telling Women to Smile is a public art project by African American artist Tatyana Falalizadeh. Her goal is to fight the daily street harassment young women face in New York and other cities (I, too, experienced street harassment until well into my forties).
In this type of harassment, packs of men make obscene catcalls and noises at random women as if they own them.
Falalizadeh interviews women about the intense humiliation and degradation this causes. Each woman identifies the specific message she wishes to convey to her abusers. Then Falalizadeh paints the women and puts up the posters in neighborhoods they frequent.
Examples of messages include:
“Stop Telling Women to Smile.”
“I’m Not Here for You.”
“Women Aren’t Outside for Your Entertainment.”
“Keep Your Thoughts About My Body to Yourself.”