Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh touched a nerve when she debuted her “Stop Telling Women to Smile” project in Bed-Stuy a few years back. She touched on the pervasiveness of street harassment that millions of women face everyday by glueing stenciled posters to neighborhood walls with defiant-looking women saying things like, “My Name is Not Baby,” “I Am Not Here For You,” and, of course, “Stop Telling Women to Smile.”
Now, as Anna Holmes documents at Fusion, Fazlalizadeh to Mexico City:
Street harassment, also known as “acoso en las calles,” is an enormous problem in Mexico City and the country as a whole, where rates of sexual violence against women are some of the highest in the world. In Mexico, as elsewhere, says Laura Martinez, director of the Association for the Integral Development of Raped Persons, female bodies are seen as objects, as “something a man can have access to, even if the woman doesn’t want”; a United Nations report in 2010 ranked Mexico number one globally in sexual violence against women, estimating that 44% of females have suffered some sort of sexual violence, from groping to rape. The situation is so bad that Mexico City offers female-only cars on the city’s subways and, in 2008, introduced female-only buses, painted the color pink.