Respect is the Strongest Compliment

Location: 1102 Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11206
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant
Program: Voices Her’d Visionaries
Theme: Women’s Empowerment
Year: 2015
Partner(s): Bogopa Service Corporation
Funder(s): EILEEN FISHER, Embrey Family Foundation, Irene B. Wolt Lifetime Trust, STARS Citywide Girls Initiative, Foundation Source, Robert and Lenore Davis, Susan Ochshorn and Marc Gross
Lead Artist(s): Danielle McDonald
Assistant Artist(s): Jazmine Hayes
Participants: Noor Ain, Gabriela Balderas, Nekita Blue, Kyla Bryam-Ramsey, Ashley Bullard, Nekisha Carter, Eden Russo, Eona John, Evonna Gideon, Nia Gordon, Jessica Tepehua Martinez, Tiffany Moore, Karina Olmo, Naica Pierre, Violet Ponce, Jamila Prescod, Daizah Staton, Emily Torres, Kinaya Youmans, Farangiz Yusupova
Medium: Acrylic on wall
Dimensions: 20 x 100 ft


Brought to national attention with groups such as HollaBack! and Stop Street Harassment, street harassment affects the feeling of safety many women experience on the street. “The majority of women have been catcalled while walking the streets of NYC,” explained youth artist Eona John about the importance of the mural. “Women are harassed to the point of fear being imprinted in their skin. I feel as though the mural made the fear and annoyance of the women of NYC come to life.”

To complete a mural on street harassment, the young women researched and referenced concepts from feminist activist graphic art, from political posters to more contemporary works by artists such as the Guerrilla Girls, Jenny Holzer, Ellen Gallagher, and Maria Atcha-Kutcher. The team also referenced Ms. Marvel and Priya Shakit comics to help build a graphic and imaginative narrative.

“Respect Is The Strongest Compliment” uses a comic book style to show a narrative of change. On the left, a group of men depicted as zombies stumble across the mural as they catcall women, who are wary of the men. At the center, a classical statue inspired by art historical styles rejects the catcalling. To the right of the figure, women stand powerful with a series of anti-calling declarations, such as “I Object to Objectification” and “Stop.” A “To Be Continued” bubble acknowledges that the mural is just a part in the ending of street harassment, and more work must be done to change the culture that perpetuates gender-based violence.

“We want to be seen less as objects, and more as humans who deserve at the very least, basic dignity to walk the streets safely.”

— Lead Artist Danielle McDonald

Learn More:

Download educational curriculum (pdf)

Watch video series on the mural by WNET Thirteen

Explore more

Comments are closed.