THE TUESDAY POD: Another Round: “Episode 25: Stop Telling Women To Smile (with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh)”
Why You Should Be Listening…
One afternoon a few years back, I was walking home from the Rite Aid off Broadway on West 145th, and a guy told me that he “bet his dick was bigger than my boyfriend’s!” At the time, I was wearing oversized sweat pants, a tank top, and the face of a person with strep. Oh, and I didn’t have a boyfriend. I just told him that so he’d hopefully stop talking to me and leave me alone. Instead, he walked beside me for over two blocks until I irately told him to get the hell away from me. It was during the day, so I was able to muster up some sense of safety, enough to speak up. If it had been at night, I probably would have stayed quiet.
Like the other night when I was walking home just before 12:00 a.m. in Bushwick and a guy at least 15 years my senior said, “How’s your night going, baby?” after looking me up and down. When I walked through my apartment doors, I joked with my boyfriend how I mumbled, “Better before you started talking to me,” after passing him, but really I was enraged. I started thinking how awesome it would be to have glasses with side mirrors on it, you know like on a car, so I could make sure a guy wasn’t tracking me — and so I wouldn’t have to discretely turn my head to the side to check and have him realizing what I was doing.
Now, my experience isn’t special, and the conversation around street harassment (specifically men towards cis women) has been growing. This much needed discourse is one of the reasons why I love this particular episode of Another Round, an awesome podcast led by Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton, two hilarious and smart writers. They interview artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. The way I came to it was actually somewhat serendipitous. One night back in 2017, I was out with my boyfriend and his friends in Bushwick. On our way to a bar, we passed by a dumpster, and I spotted the small poster with the sketched image of a defiant woman of color with the words “Harassing women does not prove your masculinity” written underneath her. Immediately, I stopped to take a picture. Everyone else kept walking. In short, I fucking loved it.
At the time, I didn’t know who the artist was — I didn’t see a byline on the portrait — so I filed it into my memory bank under the category of anonymous, cool artists seen around New York City and also posted the picture to Instagram. A few months after though, while binging on Another Round, I happened upon an episode with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. Quickly, I realized she was the one who created this piece of art for her project Stop Telling Women to Smile. I was freaking out, in the best way. It was the same level of excitement as when I first saw the preserved Banksy art on West 79th after having done a whole paper on his residency in NYC during undergrad.
So here’s the thing: not only should you know about this artist and start following her on Instagram immediately, you also need to listen to this interview with her. She talks about her unconventional career path, how it works for her, and how she grapples with these issues through her art. Basically, she’s a badass, and Heben and Tracy are fun and hysterical (which helps navigate us through this frustrating topic). If you’re feeling antsy for the interview, it begins around the 12:00 minute point, but if you’re like me and enjoy Heben and Tracy’s banter, then stick around for the beginning. And I’ll just echo these three ladies; for this one, men, please just take some time to listen, and if you’re doing that already, we thank you.
Quotes You’ll Want To Write Down