Fearless Girl is yet another empty symbol, and another example of firms capitalising feminism
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The ‘Fearless Girl’ bronze sculpture was meant to be a symbol of change within Wall Street, a sign of things to come in the field of gender, and race, equality. The young Latina girl was defiantly planted opposite one of America’s most masculine and powerful symbols, the ‘Charging Bull’, as a counterbalance to the inequality so prevalent in the industry. Commissioned by State Street for their gender awareness campaign, it was unveiled with great fanfare on International Women’s Day of this year, and the corporation said all the correct ‘girl power’ things such as claiming the sculpture represented “the power of women in leadership and the potential of the next generation of women leaders”. Nevermind that the statue is no woman, but a young girl, for likely a grown woman was deemed too threatening to be acceptable. Disappointingly, though not surprisingly, State Street has come under fire recently for doing exactly what they were claiming to fight against; it agreed on a $5 million settlement amidst claims that it paid its high-ranking female and black executives less than white men at the firm in comparable positions. The agreement covers back pay from 2010 to 2012, to be given to 305 female senior executives and 15 black vice presidents who worked at their Boston office at the time. So yes, ‘Fearless Girl’ was a symbol, just not the one advertised. It was a symbol of yet another attempt at empty corporate feminism, a mere marketing ploy that ‘empowers’ women to keep buying into the firm’s current system. This is immediately evident when one remembers the plaque that was first installed at the statue’s feet, which read “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference”.
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