Modern feminism is in its prime. We’re seeing more diverse female representation in politics, and feeling more supported to share histories of sexual harassment and assault. However, amid these blips of progress, it’s easy to forget that companies are on a mad cash grab to capitalize on feminism and the people who support it.
So, on this International Day of the Girl, it is time to once again break the capitalist facade and inform you that the most notorious symbol of feminist girlhood (in recent history and for Instagram purposes), the Fearless Girl, was actually supposed to be a Fearless female bull. Or, well, a cow because a female bull does not exist. A Fearless Cow.
Yes, the company behind the Fearless Girl statue thought the best way to pop back at the patriarchy, and the Charging Bull on Wall Street, would have been to erect a Fearless Cow, staring the bull straight in the eye, hooves planted defiantly, utter hanging with confidence, in commemoration of 2017’s International Women’s Day. How incredibly celebratory a Wall Street cow could have been! Alas!
Speaking with Campaign Asia-Pacific last month, Rob Reilly, the global creative chairman of McCann, the ad agency behind the Fearless Girl statue, said that the statue was originally presented to the client, investment firm State Street, as a “female bull.”
So, it wasn’t even the investment firm that came up with such a ridiculous idea, but the advertisement professionals, trained humans who somehow thought “We should make a daring statement about feminism by letting tourists take pictures with a brass cow!”
“When Fearless Girl started, it wasn’t a girl. The original idea we presented to State Street was not a little girl but a female bull. We presented a female bull to our client and they said, ‘We know you love this idea, but we’re just not that comfortable with it,'” Reilly told the publication.
Reilly later figured out that “something was off” after realizing that a female bull is just a cow, and that a cow was “the last thing any brand wants to represent female empowerment.” Reilly called the original idea “horrible,” but that the concept itself was attractive to clients. He said even after tweaking the idea, State Street “took awhile” to agree to the Fearless Girl, and that he even presented the idea to Microsoft, as a campaign for women in technology. Microsoft had wanted the girl to be slightly older, but ultimately turned the statue back to State Street to keep the concept with the Charging Bull.
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So, where is she now? After spending a year defiantly staring down the Charging Bull, the Fearless Girl was announced in April to be moving three blocks away before the end of the year, to stare up at the New York Stock Exchange. It should also be noted that last year, State Street, the company behind the female empowerment statue, paid $5 million to Black and female employees who the Department of Labor said were underpaid. State Street denied any wrongdoing.
The Fearless Girl will also be taking a tour of Ireland next month during the country’s inaugural Climate Week, according to Independent.ie. She’ll be planted at Europe’s flagship 2018 Climate-Kic Climate Innovation Summit at Dublin Castle, perhaps challenging climate change deniers.
Happy International Day of the Girl, kids. Stay skeptical out there.