Fearless Girl is a bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal, commissioned by State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), a large asset management company. The statue was installed on March 7, 2017, in anticipation of International Women's Day the following day. It depicts a girl four foot high, promoting female empowerment. It is located in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City.
The statue in March 2017 (original location)
|Dimensions||50 inches (130 cm) tall|
|Weight||250 pounds (110 kg)|
|Location||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Owner||State Street Global Advisors|
Fearless Girl was commissioned to advertise for an index fund that comprises gender-diverse companies that have a relatively high percentage of women among their senior leadership. A plaque originally placed below the statue stated: "Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference," with "SHE" being both a descriptive pronoun and the fund's NASDAQ ticker symbol.
The statue was first installed at Bowling Green, at the intersection of Broadway and Whitehall Street, facing down the Charging Bull (or Wall Street Bull) statue, but following complaints from that statue's sculptor, Arturo Di Modica, was removed in November 2018 and relocated to its current location the following month. A plaque with footprints was placed on the original site of Fearless Girl.
Fearless Girl, which measures approximately 50 inches (130 cm) tall and weighs about 250 pounds (110 kg). As first placed, it faced Charging Bull, a much larger and heavier bronze statue that is 11 feet (3.4 m) tall and weighs 7,100 pounds (3,200 kg).
Fearless Girl is meant to "send a message" about workplace gender diversity and encourage companies to recruit women to their boards. The plaque below the statue stated: "Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference," with SHE referring to both the gender of the subject and the fund's NASDAQ ticker symbol.
The commission by State Street Global Advisors specified that the statue should depict a girl with hands on her hips and chin up, with a height of 36 inches, which Kristen Visbal and her collaborators then increased to 50 inches, to better match the size of Charging Bull. Still, Visbal commented that "I made sure to keep her features soft; she's not defiant, she's brave, proud, and strong, not belligerent". She modeled the sculpture on two children from Delaware "so everyone could relate to the Fearless Girl."
The statue was installed on March 7, 2017—the day before International Women's Day—by State Street Global Advisors, in a campaign developed by advertising agency McCann New York. SSGA was celebrating the first anniversary of its "Gender Diversity Index" fund that "invests in U.S. large-capitalization companies that rank among the highest in their sector in achieving gender diversity across senior leadership". The concept for the statue was developed by Senior Art Director Lizzie Wilson and Senior Copywriter Tali Gumbiner. Wilson and Gumbiner established both the idea for the statue as well as the overall look of the girl using countless moodboards and imagery, which Visbal referenced.
Fearless Girl was originally given a one-week City Hall permit that was later extended to 30 days. Later, it was announced that the statue would remain in place through February 2018. Among those advocating for the statue to stay longer was U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York's 12th congressional district, who stated, "This statue has touched hearts across the world with its symbolism of the resiliency of women." New York City Public Advocate Letitia James wrote a letter that supported keeping the statue, "Fearless Girl stands as a powerful beacon, showing women—young and old—that no dream is too big and no ceiling is too high".
A petition on Change.org asking for the statue to be made permanent gathered 2,500 signatures in its first 48 hours. Efforts to make the statue permanent continued after the statue was granted a one-year permit. In April 2018, after Fearless Girl had been in place for thirteen months, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that both Charging Bull and Fearless Girl would be moved to a location facing the New York Stock Exchange. The move would occur before the end of 2018.
The statue was removed from its original location at Bowling Green on November 28, 2018. On the spot where the statue stood was placed a marker which read, "Fearless Girl is on the move to the New York Stock Exchange. Until she's there, stand for her." The plaque has footprints where people can stand. The statue was unveiled on December 10 at its new site facing the New York Stock Exchange.
Juxtaposition with Charging BullEdit
Di Modica, who installed Charging Bull in 1989, asked that the statue of the girl be removed, arguing that the piece exploited his work for commercial purposes and altered the perception of the bull. He called Fearless Girl "an advertising trick" that he wants relocated.
On April 12, 2017, Di Modica and his attorney, former New York Civil Liberties Union director Norman Siegel, challenged city officials who let the Fearless Girl statue be installed. Di Modica said that the statue corrupted Charging Bull's artistic integrity by distorting the intent of his statue from "a symbol of prosperity and for strength" into a villain, and does so for SSGA's commercial gain. Siegel said a lawsuit had not been filed as of yet. De Blasio supported keeping the statue, tweeting that "Men who don't like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl."
Some women criticized the statue as "corporate feminism" that violated their own feminist principles. The New York Times columnist Gina Bellafante called it "an exercise in corporate imaging" by State Street, which, she wrote, had entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the United States Department of Justice, agreeing to pay more than $64 million to resolve fraud charges for secretly billing clients for unwarranted commissions. "Corporate feminism", she wrote, "operates with the singular goal of aiding and abetting a universe of mothers who tuck their daughters in at night whispering, 'Someday, honey, you can lead the emerging markets and sovereign debt team at Citigroup, and then become a director at Yahoo.'" Christine Emba, an opinion writer for The Washington Post, wrote that the statue "portrays the empowered woman as a child, reinforcing the idea of femaleness as cute and inoffensive—a child with potential, maybe, but not all the way there."
Gothamist reported on March 20, 2017, that masked activists had covered the statue in "Make America Great Again" apparel and a US flag. They also placed pro-Donald Trump signs on it, including one reading "VETS B4 ILLEGALS" and another with a drawing of Pepe the Frog.
On October 6, 2017, State Street, the company that funded Fearless Girl, paid $5 million to settle a lawsuit from its female and minority employees who alleged the company violated equal pay rights.
On February 14, 2019, State Street Global Advisors filed a lawsuit against Kristen Visbal, claiming that she has made and sold replicas of the statue in violation of her contract with the company. The suit claims the artist made at least three unauthorized Fearless Girl reproductions that could damage the company's global campaign in support of female leadership and gender diversity. Court filings reported that replica Fearless Girl statues were selling for as much as $250,000.
As reported by Bloomberg News, analysts from marketing firm Apex Marketing estimated that the statue resulted in $7.4 million in free publicity for SSGA as of April 2017, broken down into $201,075 worth of free radio coverage, $393,047 worth of free social media coverage, $3,115,751 worth of free TV coverage, and $3,729,926 worth of free online/print news coverage.
At the 2017 Cannes Lions festival, Fearless Girl won three Grand Prix on the first day of the event alone, in the Glass (which deals with marketing addressing gender inequality) and PR categories, and tying for first in the Outdoor category alongside a campaign by Twitter.
In March 2019, St. Timothy's School displayed another duplicate on its campus. It is set to remain in its place permanently.
- The Most Next Award, 2018 Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) Next Awards
- Grand Effie – best in show, North American Effie Awards
- Fearless Girl won 18 Cannes Lions at the 2017 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity:
- Titanium: Grand Prix
- Outdoor: Grand Prix, one gold
- PR: Grand Prix, one gold, one silver
- Glass: Grand Prix
- Promo and Activation: Two golds, one silver
- Media: Two golds
- Direct: Two golds, one silver, one bronze
- Design: Two golds
Fearless Girl is one of only two campaigns that have ever won four Grand Prix at Cannes.
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- The Sculpture of a “Fearless Girl” on Wall Street Is Fake Corporate Feminism. The bronze statue installed by an advertising firm and a financial firm represents basically everything that’s wrong with our society. Jillian Steinhauer, Hyperallergic, March 10, 2017
- The 'Fearless Girl' statue sums up what's wrong with feminism today. Corporate feminism always ends up betraying women’s struggle for justice. That’s why this Wall Street-funded sculpture will never be a symbol to embrace. Cara Marsh Sheffler. The Guardian. March 14, 2017
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- "'Fearless Girl' joined briefly by 'Peeing Pug' statue". CNNMoney. May 30, 2017.
- "Urinating dog statue placed next to "Fearless Girl" as a critique". NBC News.
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- "Skapte spetakkel på Wall Street - nå står "Fearless girl" på Karl Johan". Aftenposten (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved March 8, 2018.
there is a duplicate that has now come to Oslo.
- "Norge har fått sin egen "Fearless Girl"". TV 2 (in Norwegian). Retrieved March 8, 2018.
A duplicate of the world-renowned statue is unveiled
- The Fearless Girl at Fed Square, retrieved on 28 February 2019
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