Though people believe that they live in the world full of equal rights and opportunities, there are still many controversial situations when the questions of a gender, race, or age are raised. Many communities are challenged by the necessity to protect their freedoms and prove their positions, and gender relationships remain to be a crucial topic for consideration in different fields. Certain attempts have been already taken to protect the rights of women, including the claims of feminism in movies, the representation of gender contradictions from a theoretical point of view, and numerous artist works (Mesch, 2014). One of the recent achievements is the creation of the “Fearless Girl”, a bronze statue in front of the Charging Bull on Wall Street that causes a number of discussions, debates, disagreements. The role of the “Fearless Girl” remains to be significant for the modern society because this statue proves the existence of gender inequalities, promotes the investigation of the past gender relationships, and demonstrates that people are ready to re-evaluate the place of women in different spheres of life.
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“Fearless Girl” Creation Details
Wall Street before the “Fearless Girl”
During the last several decades, millions of Americans get used to hearing the Wall Street bell that signalizes about an opening of a new trade session. Every day, a new celebrity is invited to open the session, including different political figures, actors, singers, and even comic heroes like Spider Man (Knight, 2014). Despite the existing variety of celebrities and icons in front of the activate button, there is always the same image people are able to observe on the Wall Street –the famous Charging Bull statue, also known as the “Wall Street bull”. This impressive financial landmark was created by Di Modica in 1987 as a reaction to the events of the Black Monday stock market crash (Knight, 2014).
During the last 30 years, this statue was a sign of financial power, competitiveness, and the American potential to cope with challenges. Despite a number of protests and criticism around the bull, including a dancer who crowned the bull as a reflection to the economic crash in 2008, the statue has become one of the most influential and strongest images in popular culture (Mesch, 2014). Peck (2017) calls the bull as one of “Wall Street’s most masculine, powerful symbols” (para. 1). With time, the fact that the statue represented the power of one particular gender caused numerous concerns and debates in society. It was necessary to make a change that can properly introduce the nature of the American nation and not worsen the heritage left by the Charging Bull.
“Fearless Girl” on the Wall Street
Nowadays, thousands of New York citizens and tourists have a picture with the bronze statue that faces the Wall Street bull. However, not all people might know the history of its creation and the intentions supported by its developers. On March 7, 2017, the day before the International Women’s Day, the residents of the Wall Street were able to observe a new bronze sculpture facing the bull (Stein, 2017). It was not a too high girl with her hands on her hips and her chin straight up, proving her confidence and readiness to resist the already gained power of the bull. The designers of the sculpture, Lizzie Wilson and Tali Gumbiner, were proud of the work done (Stein, 2017). They were managed to combine their enthusiasm with the existing gender problems and inequalities. It was not enough for them to present a new statue. It was necessary to develop a new image that could be as effective and informative as the already offered Charging Bull. Therefore, the “Fearless Girl” became “a symbol of women working to overcome the gender gap across many industries and announced its plan to help by pressuring companies to add more women to their boards” (Vullo, 2017, para. 1). In this statue, every detail plays an important role, including the height, the position, the location, and even the mood people can recognize while looking at the girl.
Gender Inequalities in Today’s World
Nowadays, in many counties, a tendency to support and respect people’s freedoms and rights is frequently developed. Many people, in spite of their age or race, like to develop debates about the role of a gender in their everyday lives, as well as in their business development, employment opportunities, and even health care. The investigations of Kimball (2017) show that, in many countries, model policies and guidelines have been developed in respect to gender equality with only 70% of them being properly implemented. Galman’s (2017) analysis of the articles emphasizes the existence of “intersectionality, complexity, and contextuality” that promote gender work “as impacted by anything” (p. 207). In fact, the question of gender inequality in modern society may be developed in a variety of ways. Its main peculiarity is the inability to create one particular wrong or right answer and develop a clear position that can hardly be judged.
The topic of gender inequalities is provocatively raised in the bronze statue of the girl. On the one hand, the girl proves male aggression and strength, putting the position of Di Modica, the creator of the Charging Bull, in question. On the other hand, the girl turns out to be a symbol of female strength and readiness to resist the male environment. The presence of the girl in front of the bull creates a new look at the development of gender relationships in the fields of business and management. The level of hostility supported on the Wall Street in regard to women who want to achieve success and recognition in finance is hard to predict, especially by those people who are not directly involved in those activities. However, the idea of “Fearless Girl” on the Wall Street has been already supported by more than 28,000 people of both genders (Miller, 2017). Even if the sculpture is removed with time, its effects cannot be forgotten.
Gender Question and the Public Opinion
Gender inequality on Wall Street has not been proved as a question of revolutionary injustice. Though people may observe the existing prevalence of male figures in the fields of business, finance, and management, it is actually hard to prove that this situation can be explained by male power and restriction but not by female unwillingness to participate in these fields. There are many women who are satisfied with their positions and the attitudes men demonstrate to them. Still, the bronze girl facing the bull should not be treated as a serious confrontation with male power only. It may be introduced as a symbol of female power that can be used in everyday life, not in gender debates only. Vullo (2017) suggests observing the girl as the lesson that is usually taught by many parents to their baby girls “to be bold and to not allow others to limit what I could achieve” (para. 2). Therefore, the girl on the Wall Street may not be a protest to the existing gender inequality or the prevalence of male power in finance. It may be a symbol of inspiration and support for all those women and girls who are not ready to resist the modern world but wait for some outside inspiration and support.
It is possible to believe that women are not the only ones who want to improve the world of finance and business by the presence of both genders in the field. The girl represents the future many people continue dreaming of (Peck, 2017). It is easy to find a man or even a company of men who understand that the presence of a woman in the field is a serious and effective contribution. It is a possibility to observe the facts from a new perspective. It is a chance to develop the same activities in a new way. The examples of such new waves in the workplace can be observed in such movies as What Women Want starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt or Erin Brockovich starring Julia Roberts. These movies, as well as the “Fearless Girl”, can help women understand that they have enough powers and reasons to demonstrate their abilities, to prove their rights, and to use their knowledge to improve the future of the society they or their children have to live in.
The uniqueness of the gender question represented on the Wall Street is also connected with the possibility to discuss the role of women as the future people choose. The power of men is surely one of the most working and effective tools to promote social development, technological progress, and desirable changes. The Charging Bull was the image of the people’s readiness to resist various financial challenges and crashes. It was the image of power and abilities to inspire optimism after such serious tests as the Black Monday (Knight, 2014). As soon as one new figure appears in front of the icon with a 30-year-old history, people are ready to forget about the role of the bull and introduce new interpretations and new visions. Therefore, the “Fearless Girl” may also be used as a tool with the help of which it is possible to check the nation, its devotion to what has been achieved, and its respect for traditions.
Helpful Lessons from the Wall Street
There are many lessons that could be learned from the girl that appeared on the Wall Street at the beginning of 2017. The first and the most evident issue is the necessity to understand that the American society is not ready to solve the problem of gender inequality. Even the fact that many celebrities of both genders are invited to open the stock market daily, some people are ready to put the concept of equality in question.
According to the developers of the girl sculpture, its imaged caused a certain deluge of excitement and some portion of controversy that could be used as evidence of the work done well (Stein, 2017). Such conclusions and reactions may be defined as another important lesson of the Wall Street. The creation of the girl was caused not by the necessity to prove female rights and opportunities. The statue was created as an opposition to the already offered image of the bull. It was a protest not to support women but to make them ready to fight or oppose something. Therefore, to achieve the positive results, support women, and make the correct judgments and improvements, the clarification of the goals and the choice of appropriate methods play an important role.
Finally, the attention to the girl paid through media cannot be neglected. In different sources, it is possible to find various attitudes to the image of the girl and its effects on the Charging Bull. For example, Kimball (2017) indicates that the girl has to be removed because it makes the bull not as a symbol of strength and positive readiness to cope with challenges, but as a threat or a kind of protest regarding the role of women in business. At the same time, there is a position that “men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl” (Kimball, 2017, p. 32). These contradictions do not make it possible to understand a true worth of the statue. Still, it becomes clear that one small figure that may lead to a number of challenges and conclusions.
Pros and Cons of the “Fearless Girl”
Taking into consideration the lessons learned from the Wall Street, the evaluation of the past relationships between genders, and the necessity to understand why gender inequality is still a problem in many countries, the role of the “Fearless Girl” may be characterized by certain positive and negative aspects. To support the image of the girl in front of the bull, such pros as the recognition of the role of women, the promotion of a new meaning of the statues, and inspiration that is available to all people should be defined. The “Fearless Girl” shows that it is possible to put the already offered idea in question and achieve new positive results.
However, it is also necessary to underline the negative issues that cannot be ignored. First, the girl changes the meaning of the Charging Bull and the positive attitude it contained during the last 30 years (Vullo, 2017). Another doubtful outcome is the inability to understand the intentions of its creation. If there was a need to promote new debates and contradictions between the genders, then the developers succeeded in their goal. However, it is necessary to remember that the Wall Street is the financial center of the United States. It should not be challenged by new conflicts and opposition. The task is to unite people and strengthen the nation against any possible outside threats.
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In general, the image of the “Fearless Girl” has a strong influence on the Americans, as well as the representatives of other nations. The developers of this statue wanted to prove that the bull, as a symbol of masculine power, is not the only tool that can be used to promote the prosperity and success of the United States. The power of women should never be neglected, and the girl confronting the bull is the symbol to support this thought. However, the developers and supporters of this figure should think about a new possible role of the girl on the Wall Street. It is possible to change the location of the girl and place it not in front of the bull but next to it as a symbol of the cooperation of both genders and the readiness of the American people, despite their gender, to deal with any challenge or threat that may come from the outside.
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Kimball, G. (2017). Brave: Young women’s global revolution (Vol. 1-3). Chico, CA: BookBaby.
Knight, G.L. (2014). Pop culture places: An encyclopedia of places in American popular culture (Vol. 1-3). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Mesch, C. (2014). Art and politics: A small history of art for social change since 1955. New York, NY: I.B. Tauris.
Miller, R.W. (2017). ‘Fearless girl’ statue will keep staring down Wall Street’s bull. USA Today. Web.
Peck, E. (2017). Why the ‘Fearless Girl’ statue is kinda bull. Huffpost. Web.
Stein, L. (2017). Creatives you need to know: Tali Gumbiner and Lizzie Wilson. AdAge. Web.
Vullo, M. (2017). ‘Fearless Girl’ is more than just public art. American Banker. Web.