The awesome ladies behind the non-profit Hollaback have turned to art as a method of fighting back against street harassment. Hollaback NYC held a “Girl Power” art workshop in a Brooklyn park recently which encouraged its tween and teen participants to create visible street art that spoke out against the catcalls and harassment many women face every day.
Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, known for her amazing anti-harassment public art project called “Stop Telling Women To Smile,” was on hand to encourage the girls to write their thoughts about catcalling using a Brooklyn wall as a canvas. Fazlalizadeh’s posters included phrases like “You Are Not Entitled To My Space” and “Women Do Not Owe You Their Time or Conversation” alongside female faces with bold, defiant expressions. The work is the result of interviews with women about their personal experiences with catcalling.
What’s most pleasantly surprising is that the event was hosted by Brooklyn City Councilmember Laurie A. Cumbo. A politician devoting time to this issue, and doing so through art, kind of blows me away! Cumbo aimed to offer tools for the participants to express their feelings around harassment, since all too many of us simply see it as a part of life and don’t know how to communicate what a violation the experience can be. Even Emily May, Hollaback’s cofounder, is onboard with this project, and told DNAInfo, “It’s just really inspiring to be working with a councilmember that sees the potential in using art to create social change and engaging young women and girls to create that conversation and make that change.”
I think it’s great to let girls know early on that street harassment is not something they have to sit back and accept and that they’re perfectly entitled to be angered by it. If only workshops like this make their way to every city!
[Image via Instagram]