When A Guy Next Says ‘Cheer Up Love’ You Might Want To Rant To This Woman

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is showing harassers, through her art, that women are people, too...


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

‘Cheer up, love’ ‘It might never happen’ ‘Smile!’ – unfortunately, these are some of the low-level forms of harassment that loads of women experience just by walking around in the eyeline of a gobby sort who apparently think that women will just smile (and not redefine ‘bitchy resting face’) when told to by a stranger.

New York-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is – rightly – so pissed off by these daily harassments that she’s started a public art series to take action against the commenters. No, she’s not taken to spraying mace at them, or kicking them in the crotch and running. Instead she's showing how human the victims of this harassment are by making their thoughts – and faces – public.


In this video, she explains she is ‘addressing street harassment, particularly gender-based street harassment…it was my way of speaking back to my harassers.’ A lot like Laura Bates of the UK’s Everyday Sexism, Tatyana takes testimonials from people who've been harassed and then broadcasts them. However, she also paints portraits of the women (and they are, in this case, women) along with their messages to harassers and puts them up as posters in public places.

‘I’m putting a face to these words,' she says. 'It’s not just “hey street harassment is bad”, you actually get to see this person’s face, this woman’s face who goes through this daily and what she has to say about it.’

Which is a rather more diplomatic way of putting it than one of the woman who's shared her story. ‘I always fantasise about walking around with a huge sign over my head that says “I’m not here for you.” The fucking end, that’s it. I’m not here for you. That’s not what my existence is about. I actually don’t give a fuck if that sounds selfish but I have nothing to do with you. And I don’t have to do anything for you or about you, whatsofucking ever. That’s my sole choice.’

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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