Here's the Powerful Reason These People Are Writing on Their Backs

August 13th 2015

Laura Donovan

Life exhausts people for different reasons. Right now, I'm exhausted by the constant sexism I face when I leave my apartment every morning to go to work. On the way to my parking garage, I'm bombarded by cat callers making it so I can't start my work commute without first being sexually harassed. Sometimes I'll fire back, but whether I speak up or not, I'm drained by street harassment, which I've endured for more than a decade.

That's why I was so drawn to the "I'm Tired" project, which 21-year-old British college students Paula Akpan and Harriet Evans started to "highlight the significance and lasting impact of everyday micro-aggressions & stereotypes," according to their Facebook page. "I'm Tired" is an ongoing photo project featuring the backs of people who are tired of a broad range of things from street harassment to racism and beyond.



Photo credit: Ming Au

Posted by The "I'm Tired" Project on Thursday, June 11, 2015



"Although society is far from perfect, I’m sure most would agree that in the past 200 years or so, we have come a...

Posted by The "I'm Tired" Project on Wednesday, August 12, 2015



"I’m tired of men thinking they have the right to catcall me."In any village, town or city worldwide, females face...

Posted by The "I'm Tired" Project on Tuesday, August 4, 2015



"I'm tired of people being surprised by my ambition. "Gender stereotypes and sexism have definitely improved. I'm so...

Posted by The "I'm Tired" Project on Saturday, August 1, 2015



"I'm tired of being shamed for having natural body hair. "When I was twelve years old, I realised having body hair as...

Posted by The "I'm Tired" Project on Wednesday, July 29, 2015



"I'm tired of being the angry black woman. "The media continues to draw on tired and irrelevant stereotypes when...

Posted by The "I'm Tired" Project on Thursday, July 23, 2015


Akpan and Evans wrote in an email to ATTN: that many have embraced their ongoing project, which has garnered nearly 5,000 likes on Facebook.

"The general response has been mostly positive, with many appreciating that we're attempting to bring attention to discriminatory behaviour they have experienced, behaviour that tends to get overlooked day-to-day, while others have commented on how they didn't realise that some of the seemingly harmless things they were saying or was actually serving to alienate another individual," the founders wrote. "Like with any project or campaign that attempts to highlight controversial issues, there will always be critics, however, we are just glad to be helping instigate more discussion and debate around these issues. Nobody is ever going to agree with each other 100 percent of the time, but if we're able to change just one person's mind and see how micro-agressions and discrimination can impact individuals and groups on a daily basis then we're happy!"

Akpan and Evans noted those who have participated in the campaign have enjoyed the experience a great deal. Certain participants have been taken aback by the amount of social media support they've received for their own particular photos. For example, the catcall photo alone has more than 40 shares and 270 likes on Facebook. The "I"m tired of being the angry black woman" post racked up almost 240 likes and 60 shares as well.

"[They] have mentioned that they feel like they're part of something that is having some sort of impact and that they've enjoyed having a platform from which they can voice how they feel in their own words, though I think for some, it's taking some getting used to seeing their backs being shared around the internet," the founders wrote. "Some have also been shocked by the positive comments and similar experiences that have been shared on our page. They can't believe the amount of 'likes' they're getting on Facebook and Instagram, or Retweets on Twitter! It's not only great for the people who see the project to see that someone else is going through the same sort of discrimination as them, but that our models are getting a great deal of support in telling their stories. We're so pleased that we've been able to facilitate that sort of solidarity and camaraderie!"

Here are some Twitter responses to the project:

If you'd like to participate in the ongoing "I'm Tired" project, please email [email protected]