"Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles" : An Interview with Elena Majecki

October 8, 2018

My name is Elena Majecki, I'm a 20 year old Brussels based photographer currently working on a series called Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles (Leave Girls Alone in English). In this series, I follow an underground and anonymous feminist group in Brussels with the same name - Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles. Their goal is to fight the patriarchy and to own the streets again, therefore they are tagging and printing the message -Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles- and its derivative -Laisse Les Gays Tranquilles (leave gays alone)- etc. I documented this movement for their past two rides across Brussels and the photos below are the result.

DISSOLVING FILM: Can you tell Dissolving Film readers about the project you did with Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles?

ELENA: During two nights this summer I documented a feminist movement ‘Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles’ (Leave Girls alone in English). The aim of this group is to fight the patriarchy and to own the streets again. Therefore they are tagging and printing the message -Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles- and its derivative -Laisse Les Gays Tranquilles (leave gays alone)- etc.

What is the story of the origination of Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles?

Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles is originally 3 girls from Brussels who were sick of being harassed at parties, in the streets, and not feeling safe in many public places simply because they were women. So they decided, anonymously, to tag and put prints all over Brussels with their catchy message ‘Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles’.

How did you find out about the underground group, Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles?

Last year we were all living in the same neighbourhood, in the center of Brussels were they started. Therefore for a few months everywhere I’d go on a daily basis I would see their message. One day I woke up and in front of my school there were 30 prints saying LAISSE LES FILLES TRANQUILLES. Or when I would go to the closest ATM to my flat and I would find a sticker on the machine saying ‘laisse les filles tranquilles’. I became obsessed with them and the only thing I could think about was contacting them and documenting them. I found their Instagram page a few weeks after that and sent them a message. And here we are now.

How long did it take you to document the two rides across Brussels?

They do all their actions at night to stay anonymous and not have troubles with the authorities, so I followed them around during two long nights across Brussels.

What is the aim of the work that Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles does?

I want to show people how underground and feminist movements work. In Brussels we saw for the past few years many underground movements growing so I want people to see how they do it. Also the fact that this movement is related to feminism motivates me to show a different part of the movement. To feel safe we have to take the streets during the day but also at night when you don’t see it.

What do you want viewers of your work to take away from the project?

With this photo project I want people to see how hard we’re fighting. I want people to feel safer when watching those pictures. And I want people to join us to help us take the streets.

Is there a message you want to tell to the people who are seeing the work around the city, or to anyone else who feels that they are unsafe in their city?

Do not hesitate to share the tags and prints on social medias and to keep fighting. The movement Laisse Les Filles Tranquilles are sending stickers to whomever wants to to spread the word around. If it helps you, start your own movement too!

Interview by Thea Neufeldt Armstrong (@theamariena)

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