Defending fearless women

“Fearless Girl” disrespect is exactly why feminism needs to be fought for

Just in case you haven’t heard of it yet, there’s a statue by McCann New York and its client State Street Global Advisors entitled, “Fearless Girl.” The bronze statue was placed directly in front of the “Charging Bull” with her hands bravely on her hips, staring him down.

As reported by Adweek.com, “Staring down the 28-year-old Wall Street ‘Charging Bull’ statue, she’s a potent symbol of female leadership in business, and of the need for companies everywhere to get more women on their boards and into other powerful positions—for reasons not just symbolic but practical, as companies with gender-diverse leaders simply perform better financially.”

Naturally, the little girl became an overnight success. People everywhere seemed to love the idea and took photos with her or posed with her to show how they, too, supported what she stood for.

I personally loved everything about her. I loved how she was only a child, which symbolized how we should be encouraging young girls to chase their ambitions, stand down their obstacles, and face their challenges with bravery. I also adored seeing little girls with their mothers taking photos with the statue, which proved that she was doing exactly what she set out to do. I wanted this statue to remind young girls and adult women alike that feminism is important and is something that we still very much need in this day and age.

Another thing I loved about her was that she wasn’t angry. There was no other emotion on her other than determination. She didn’t need to appear like she was raging mad so people would fear her or be intimidated. She simply stood her ground and encouraged many around her to do the same.

She’s so simple yet incredible.

So, naturally some dumbass in a business suit and literal neck beard felt the need to walk up to her with his fellow bros and hump the statue. Of course, they cheered him on because, “Oh my god, you’re so hilarious, bro!”

According to Independent, “Alexis Kaloyanides, an architectural designer, posted the picture to Facebook, and it has since been shared more than 14,000 times. Ms. Kaloyanides captioned the photo: ‘Almost as if out of central casting, some Wall Street finance broseph appeared and started humping the statue while his gross date rape-y friends laughed and cheered him on.’”

Please excuse me while I pinch the bridge of my nose and exhale sharply.

This is exactly the problem.

It’s bad enough that women don’t get taken seriously in the workplace. But now some tool defiled a statue representing feminism and the role women play in the workforce.

I can also understand how feminism often gets misconstrued, even by women. We saw a perfect example of this the other week with Emma Watson posing in Vanity Fair. For those who don’t know, many women flipped out on Watson after accusing her of being anti-feminist for her photo shoot. The photo in question contained Watson in a shawl covering her bare breasts. First of all, I feel like I should mention that she wasn’t topless. She had clothing covering her breasts. Last time I checked, that wasn’t being topless. This brings me to my next point. Even if she was topless, who gives a damn? She could have been completely naked and that doesn’t make her any less of a feminist. It doesn’t mean that she set women back. It definitely doesn’t mean that she can’t identify as a feminist.

Watson commented on this controversy by saying, “Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it.”

I agree with her entirely here. Someone in the comments section summed up how I feel about this exactly. “Emma Watson is entirely correct. Feminism is about freedom of choice. You don’t owe it to anyone to show them your tits, and you don’t owe it to anyone to keep covered up.”

That’s just how I feel about it. Unfortunately, feminism hasn’t reached a solid definition, I don’t think. I think there are still many men and women who believe that women need to adhere to a certain set of standards, and they aren’t a feminist if they don’t do this. They shouldn’t bare any skin, because if they do, they fall prey to the male gaze and give in to the patriarchy. They should be ladylike and shouldn’t cuss, because we need to be taken seriously, and if we don’t come off as professional than how can we convince people otherwise?

A huge problem that I’ve noticed with a lot of movements is just how divided they are. It’s not just feminism —take something huge like religion. Do you have any idea how many arguments I used to get into with fellow Christians about whether Jesus was God or the son of God? This was apparently a big deal, and if you didn’t agree with your opposition, you were a bad Christian. How many times have I seen on Facebook a post that contains the phrase, “My God taught me that so and so was okay…”? My version of Christianity. My version of feminism. How easier it would be if people could just land on something and agree with one another as opposed to judging someone for the most minute things.

I don’t want to get into a whole thing about feminism here, because I mainly wanted to talk about how poorly feminism is treated. But, what I believe is that a woman should have choice and shouldn’t have to answer for the choices that she makes. She should be allowed to do what she likes with her body without being manipulated by women who ironically tell her that men are the ones manipulating her. Feminism should be about liberation and should be about equality.

This leads me back to my original point. It’s about equality. Feminism should represent equality and treating women with some respect. But, we can’t even place a statue of a small child on Wall Street without some idiot walking up to her and thinking it’s funny or appropriate to start humping her. Was that honestly supposed to be taken as a joke?

And for the love of God, please don’t hit me with the argument of it being a joke or me not having a sense of humour. A sense of humour about what, exactly? Some moron who decided to walk up to a statue of a little girl and begin to hump her because he thought he was being… funny? Who’s the one who’s missing something here?

Which is another thing. I’m sure that some people will disagree with me, but I also think this act contributes to rape culture. This was discussed among several women as well when news of this story first broke. Many were disgusted about how these guys thought that it was not only okay to do this but also how they laughed it off like it was nothing.

Here’s the thing, though. Laughing something like this off is exactly why women push to be heard. “Fearless Girl” may stand for women in the workplace, but it symbolizes something much greater as well. Women aren’t heard when they stand up for themselves. Women aren’t heard when they take their sexual assault cases to the police—when they take it to court. Women aren’t heard as much as men. It’s obvious. “Fearless Girl” stands for women in the workplace. She stands for young girls who are fearless regardless of what society is teaching them. She stands for women being heard. And when some bro-dude like this decides to hump a statue like her, he’s disrespecting everything she stands for as well. He disrespects the women who identify with her message. He proves to the world that there are still clusters of men out there who think humping the statue of a little girl is something to be applauded.

Something we should take away from this is that we should treat women with respect. That we still need feminism. That, if nothing else, this fool proved that feminism is a movement that still hasn’t earned as much as respect as it deserves.

I know that I said there are many people divided in several movements. I know there will be people reading this who identify as feminists but believe Emma Watson made a poor choice in her photoshoot. But, regardless of whether or not you agree with someone in your movement, you shouldn’t be telling people that they can’t identify as something just because you think that your version of said thing it is better.

That being said, the actions of this bro-dude have encouraged women everywhere to defend “Fearless Girl.” I’d like to think that this was a huge step forward in putting aside the differences of feminism and uniting. There are some things where no grey area is present.

The idiot who humped the statue should be reprimanded. It’s good to remind people that he and his stupid friends got chased away from the statue by people who called them out. These cowards wanted to make a scene but instead wound up making asses of themselves. I can’t wait until someone identifies him and he gets canned or reprimanded. Maybe his friends can clap and laugh about that.

YOURS,
MARIA CRUZ