If there is one thing that annoys me pretty much more than anything it’s being told to smile. Just to be clear I am in fact a human and not a robot. Thus I have been endowed with the ability to think and feel on my own. So if I feel like smiling I do. What definitely makes me not want to smile? Being told to by total strangers on the street.
This may sound weird to some readers but I’m willing to go out on what I predict is a pretty sturdy limb and say most females have been told at least once in their life by a complete stranger to “Smile Baby” or “Smile Beautiful”. Generally this is followed up by other ‘requests’ that are far less benign but equally annoying.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh has taken her own frustration with daily street harassment and turned it into works of art. Her work has been posted in Philadelphia, as well Brooklyn and other parts of New York City and continuing to expand to new cities. Ms. Fazlalizadeh has also created a t-shirt that reads “Stop telling women to smile”. Needless to say I’m a big fan.
Street harassment is a daily ordeal for numerous people around the world but is generally targeted towards women and LGBT individuals. It may seem non-threatening but verbal harassment can quickly escalate to violent and physical altercations. The long-term effects of verbal harassment can lead to depression, anxiety, decreased mobility and an overall reduced sense of safety.
Want to turn your own frustration into action?
- Hollaback! is an organization dedicated to ending street harassment the globe over. Sign their pledge to “Be a Better Bystander’ and help out the next time you see street harassment happening. They also have some great tips on how to intervene safely.
- Start organizing an event for the upcoming International Anti-Street Harassment Week, which is April 7-13th.
Campaign Consultation, Inc.