Artist paints 'yes' on women's lips to make a powerful point to men

The topic of sexual assault is front of mind right now all around the world. Every day people are coming forward to share their stories and experiences, forcing the men who victimized them to face the consequences for their actions. In solidarity some people are protesting, others are writing, and others still are making visual art. One such person is Budapest-based artist Miklós Kiss, who is expressing his thoughts through one simple word and a series of powerful images.

Kiss, who goes by his artist name, kissmiklos, created a powerful photo series called “Silent Consent” that depicts 11 women with the word “yes” painted on their closed lips in their native language.

“The silent yes is like an exclamation mark,” Kiss said in his artist’s statement. “A mark for all those women who have been deprived of their rights of making their own choices. Who have been living their lives under obligation and suppression because nobody has ever shown them how to say no. This silent consent becomes a painful everyday routine. It’s hiding on their lips, dishonest and invisible.”

To make his message, Kiss had the women in his photos look directly into the camera — lips pursed, with the word “yes” written in their country’s native language and national colors. “They silently speak for all the women who could raise their voices but by whatever means are forced to remain silent,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Though Kiss first created the portraits in 2015 for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, he recently shared them to his Instagram page as a renewed campaign to support the swell of women coming forward to speak out against harassment. Kiss says the purpose of his project is also to start a conversation among his fellow men.

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