TATYANA FAZLALIZADEH OF THE MURAL CAMPAIGN, “STOP TELLING WOMEN TO SMILE.”

Holla Back.

Calculate your history carefully. Run your mouths carelessly.

We don’t know why you can’t see a human before a woman. Substance before shape. 
Reduce yourselves to an animal invertebrate. Blood sucking.

Have you forgotten how to be intelligent? Forgotten from where you came ?

We’re not asking for chivalry.

We’re telling you to shut your fucking mouth before we smack it off your face.

And this isn’t angry. No, this is reasonable. But you should see us angry.

No time for petty words. Pretty tired of petty words.

Sick whispers only ever rub the wrong way.
And hey sweetheart, hey baby, hey cupcake.

Let me ask you, what grants you access to our sacred space ?
What gave you any idea we’d like to hear what you have to say ?

Your compliments false. Pray to false gods and make idols of exploitation and entitlement. Fetishize what is foreign and try to own what should not even be yours to dream of.

Surprise surprise, our appearance is not correlated with your existence.

Let me ask you, why wake up just to be commodified?
What has it come to when we wince at good mornings, because they may be followed by aggressions and accusations, words thrust on us.

You make gender a violent parody. But you see, we are proud of our female affliction.

We are so powerful that we endure. So pure that we forgive. So blissful that we smile.

So peaceful in wild and dangerous times.

Because we are mothers and prostitutes.
We are artists. We are enlightened.

It’s hard to know evil when we were raised with it sitting on our sofa,

looking over our shoulder, preached to us and injected in doses.

Let me ask you, how you feel when half your city is under attack?

Let me tell you to take a stand. 
Holla Back.

This was written for HOLLA BACK BOS Exhibit 2016 — an all female art show on the topic of female oppression and street harassment. Thanks to curator Ché Morales!