I recently took a trip to NYC and found myself standing next to the newly famous, brave little girl, staring down the Charging Bull on Wall Street. The moment I read about this statue, I knew I wanted see this, what is now known as, the “fearless girl”. Even from pictures, you can tell that this 4-foot-tall girl is standing strong, she makes one feel confident, feel that the bull is up for a challenge, that she isn’t going down without a fight. To myself and many others, this girl celebrates all of the people who resisted injustice, inequality, a voice unheard.
But there is so much more to see.
It starts with what we teach the kids. The world is changing a little more every day, and I truly believe that every generation will progress towards equality of all people, but it’s a slow process and the sad reality is that there will always be people there to bring others down. Bullying isn't just something that exists in schools, and disappears when we enter adulthood...But that’s another post for another day.
I went to Wall Street on a beautiful Saturday mid-afternoon. It was so crowded, people were standing in-between the girl in the bull, so unfortunately getting a full photo was impossible. As I was standing there within the masses, I started taking photographs of the fearless girl, soon realizing I was capturing a real little girl waiting her turn to stand beside her new friend.
With so many people surrounding the statue, it took some assertive moves to get a photo with the girl. I hadn’t taken my shot yet, partly because I couldn’t find my friends to take one but partly because it was a little intimidating for everyone to watch you take a photo, let alone just jump up while everyone is trying to do the same.
As a group of people cleared out, I saw my chance to get a photo of the statue with no one around it. I snapped one quickly with my iPhone, but saw that this photo captured a real little girl, ready to take her shot. I love how the second photo shows a second-thought. The split moment between standing on the sides watching someone else take theirs and actually jumping up. In the next photo, you can see she is looking right at me. At this moment we smiled at each other, and it is something I will never forget. The moment we made eye contact, she started walking up to the girl.
Who knows what she was thinking, but part of me hopes our wordless interaction gave her a little encouragement.
In the last photo you see her smiling with such a genuine glow. Once she saw that this fearless little girl was her height, essentially a statue of her, she was so just so happy. If I said that gender biases haven't had any impact on my life, I would be lying because there have been many instances where I have felt less worthy or objectified by something a man has said or acted. It’s tough to write that, but I know that any women you ask can say they have experienced that at some moment in their life.
On Wednesday, April 12, the New York Times published an article on Twitter reporting that the artist of "The Charging Bull," Arturo Di Modica, wants the Fearless Girl placed elsewhere. The Times reported that Di Mondica said this statue was an, “insult to his work,” which he created after the stock market crashed in the 1980s. He told The Times, that she was there “attacking the bull.” If you read the story you’ll see that Di Monica and his lawyers said, “none of us here are in any way not proponents of gender equality,” yet are still demand that the girl be removed.
The point of the bull is to represent, “freedom in the world, peace, strength, power and love,” according to the artist. And to me, this is not taking away from that message. I know that some may see the bull as the bad person, but I think that we need to all look at the bull as something we all strive to be. The fearless girl is staring down the bull, head on in a powerful stance. But I don’t think it needs to mean that the bull is a man, that the girl is trying to defeat the bull, but become equally as powerful. I think it shows that this 4-foot girl and a giant bull can represent the same meaning.
The Times reported that the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, Tweeted about its importance on Wednesday saying, “Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.” This isn't how I think we should portray the Fearless Girl. Yes, this message makes sense and I understand why many see it this way. But, I think it is important to acknowledge the fact that equality is not about bringing anyone else down, it’s about bringing yourself up and fighting your own battle. There will always be intimidating people in the world, people who want to bring you down, but that isn't what the bull is to me. I want to be the bull, I want to represent “freedom in the world, peace, strength, power and love,” because every little girl should know that they can be a charging bull, even if they only stand 4-feet tall.