By Kat Noel
It was on a trip to the neighborhood laundromat that I first saw Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s anti-street harassment posters. The unamused and fed up expressions of the women in the portraits and their written sentiments caused me to stop because they mirrored my own. One block from my apartment, in the middle of Bed-Stuy, Tatyana was sending a message that being heckled, flirted with or “complimented” by men when you’d rather be left alone and feel safe is an unfortunate shared experience amongst women and it’s not okay. I snapped a cell phone picture of the posters to share with my sistafriends as a gesture of hope that possibly by calling it out, street harassment may one day be a nonexistent issue.
A few weeks later, on another wash day, I noticed a discourse happening on the posters.
The first one says:
“Whoever put this up, please be open to discussion on this from a guy:
1. Maybe a guy who’s trying to talk isn’t trying to get your #’s. We could be trying to a little knowledge to your day.
2. A cocky woman who blows a guy off isn’t that attractive, no matter how good you look.
3. Not every guy is trying to spit G to get in your pants
” What makes you think you have enough knowledge to impart anything to anyone? Your [sic] ego tripping”
“1. A guy telling you to smile (something illegible) show the beauty they see in you.
2. If you have frown [sic] on your face all day long that leads to scorn, bitter attitude. You should smile, be happy 🙂
“Tell them to get off the corners + get a job!!”
To the brother who wrote the comments, ask yourself this: do you ever request other men to smile or attempt to add your “little knowledge” to their days as they pass you on the street? I doubt that you do because having his personal space respected is considered a man’s birthright.
You know what makes women smile?
Being able to walk by a man or a group of men and feel comfortable because nothing disrespectful, unwelcomed or threatening is said to us.