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Twenty-first century feminism is a movement that encompasses all people regardless of predispositions and sets an ideal of equality. Feminism involves looking at the world through an analytical lens which places gender on a pedestal. Feminism is not about man hating but rather empowering everyone to feel like they have a place of importance in the world no matter race, gender, or belief (Tarrant 52). Fearless Girl is a bronze a statue of a young girl with her hands on her hips staring down the iconic statue of the Wall Street bull, this statue is commissioned by State Street Corporation. Fearless Girl, as a piece of art, can be read on two different levels. First, if just appreciating the message that is conveyed through the visual of the statue, then Fearless Girl can be seen as an art piece that can be interpreted as feminist. However, the second reading of Fearless Girl involves not just the physical art, but the context in which it was created. If the art and artist, and in this situation, the corporation that commission the art, are understood and appreciated as a unit, then Fearless Girl cannot be considered feminist. The Fearless Girl was revealed to the world the night before International Women’s Day of Twenty-Seventeen and obtained a huge response from the public. Within the first twelve hours of the statue revealed to the public it generated one million tweets on twitter and two hundred and fifteen thousand instagram posts. The campaign, was also ranked the most successful one promoting good causes in Twenty-Seventeen by The Good Report advertising website. (Lynette Dicey, 3).
At first glance a superficial reading of the Fearless Girl might persuade a person to think this is a message of female empowerment and ideology. As conscientious citizens, we must look deeper to discover the stereotypes, and lack of racial representation that are embedded in this artistic work. For example, the statue represents a very narrow-minded view of females, as it portrays Fearless Girl with white characteristics, such as straight hair, shape of eyes, and westernized clothing. The feminist movement has fought hard to allow women from all cultures and races to feel represented, no matter social status, the clothing they wear, or how they choose to present themselves. A woman is not defined by anyone but herself. Fearless Girl was created by artist, Kristen Visbal. In an interview she said, “ I made sure to keep her features soft; she’s not defiant, she’s brave, proud and strong, not belligerent. “( Suzanne Doyle-Morri,3) There is something very wrong with her stating that she made the sculpture to be “soft”, it is communicating that if she created her to look strong and older people would feel threatened. In Twenty-Fourteen there was a campaign that came out called #LIKEAGIRL, this campaign was trying to change what the phrase “like a girl means. ” They wanted to demonstrate that usually when people hear someone say “like a girl” it has a negative connotation.
This campaign had a strong effect on people’s lives and every woman no matter young or old could relate to this campaign because all their lives women have fought to be seen as strong and fierce. When a woman stands up for what she believes in and puts her voice into issues, people tend to discrete a woman’s opinion calling her a bitch or aggressive. Kristen Visbal vision for the design was to make sure it did not look like it was ddefiant she said she designed it to make her not look bilegert. It seems as though Kristen Visbal design of the sculpture is taking steps backwards to end gender stereotypes, since a lot of women cannot relate to the design of the girl. There is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to dress or act more “girly” but there is an issue when in order to get respect a woman has to look, act, and dress a certain way that is why there is a problem with how Kristen Visbal designed the statue. “Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength. ” —G. D. AndersonState Street may have commissioned what was intended to be a statue with a feminist message, however, the actual practices within the company conveyed a message that is clearly not in alignment with a feminist understanding. “Know the power of women in leadership” This is the slogan of the Fearless Girl statue that is monumented in Wall Street, New York. To the observer, this statue may have seemed genuine, and a true attempt to encourage more female representatives in the workplace, but there is more to the story. State Street Corporation installed this statue, this companies message was that companies with women in leadership perform better, but how could a company claim this in front of the world despite evidence that women in leadership are underrepresented in the State Street company. Research done by journalist Sam Degremound shows that the firm only has three women on its 11-person board of directors and five women on its 28-member leadership team. It was also found that in early October, State Street Corporation, quietly settled allegations that it had been paying female employees less than their male counterparts, agreeing to award five million in USD back pay (Sarah Banet-Weiser, Chicago Tribune).
These statistics and articles show that the company is not practicing the values that it claims to promote in the Fearless Girl slogan. It is vitally important for there to be awareness about lack of female representation in the workplace but this statue is not going to change that. This statue is a mere cover-up of lack of representation if State Street Corporation is willing to pour millions of dollars into this company, yet not into getting female representation in their companies, there is a real problem. State Street Corporation is located in many countries throughout the world, thus setting them up with a powerful platform to change how people portray women all over the world. Furthermore, in accordance with documents filed Oct. 5 by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP), “since at least December 1, 2010, and continuing thereafter, State Street discriminated against Females employed in the Senior Vice President (SVP), Managing Director (MD), and Vice President (VP) positions by paying them less, in base salary, bonus pay and total compensation, than similarly situated Males employed in the same position. ”(Annalisa Merelli,4).
This is yet another representation of the hypocrisy that is portrayed by State Streets. The fact that State Streets is both underpaying and under representation women in their own workplace takes away from the Fearless Girl statue and the message that it is intended to portray. In order for States Streets message to be truly effective they need to lead by example and improve themselves before challenging others. State Street commissioned Fearless Girl, as a way to improve their companies character and reputation. “The Fearless Girl project was always a SCAM allowing a TRILLION dollar financial firm to get many MILLIONS of dollars of FREE publicity on PUBLIC land,” wrote Arthur Piccolo, chairman of the Bowling Green Association, and a champion of the Charging Bull statue, in an email to artnet News. He called SSGA a “hypocrite company” that “abuses Bowling Green and Arturo DiModica. ” (According to the Guardian, the Fearless Girl promotion brought SSGA an estimated $7. 4 million in free marketing. ) (Sarah Cascone,4) Fearless girl is not an accurate representation of Twenty-First century feminism, because it places importance on furthering the reputation of a company rather than the empowerment of women.
All people deserve to be seen as equals and this statue does not embody this value. Since the beginning of time women have been fighting for equal rights, the right to vote, the right to control their own bodies, the right to have equality in the workplace, the right to be respected, and the right to an education. The Feminist movement has belonged on this earth for as long as males have had dominance over women. It has seemed as though throughout time there is a pattern of sweeping gender inequality under the rug. For example if something is trending online such as the movement #heforshe people love to jump on board and retweet it because it’s the most popular things, but don’t truly believe it themselves or even understand what the message is trying to convey. This is also a relevant issue to the Fearless Girl statue, the message that it is sending is true, yes we need more female representation, but its all good to say that but you need to actually do it.
For the millions of people who have posted a photo or quote of Fearless Girl are they subconsciously just tweeting it, or are they taking a step back and reflecting into their own lives to see how they can change this issue of gender inequality. “The point is not that working to expand the presence of women on corporate boards is in itself an unworthy goal. It is that building a bronze monument to the plight of the more than 14 million women who make up two-thirds of the low-wage workforce would also be worthy. Would anyone Instagram it?”(Ginia Bellafante,3) Our society is starved for public images of women that aren’t tied to advertising or sex, it shows how desperate we are as a society to praise about anything. Picture a world where each person is able to thrive off the possibility of peace, in order to reach this ideal we cannot rely on just the feminist revolution;we need to unite to end all prejudice. This will allow for every individual regardless of gender to feel apart of the community that works together to meet the needs of all. “Hooks 18”
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