It’s been over a year since State Street’s “Fearless Girl” statue was installed in front Wall Street’s “Charging Bull” statue. In that time, The Boston bank’s publicity stunt turned into a bona fide tourist destination, created a little drama and become an accepted part of Manhattan’s Financial District.
We admit to having called the whole thing a pretty hamfisted and visually curious attempt at making State Street appear Woke, but “Fearless Girl”s timing could not have been better and her placement in front of the bull has really grown on us. The statue’s symbolic importance has only grown since the #MeToo movement kicked into high gear a few months after the statue’s installation, so it would be hard to imagine that anyone would have the idiocy or balls to mess with “Fearless Girl” at this point…
Fearless Girl is on the move.
The much-beloved statue will depart her perch opposite the iconic Charging Bull to stare down some new scenery: The New York Stock Exchange, the Daily News has learned.
Oh, and what will she be staring down over there?
Due to safety concerns about traffic — and potential terror attacks using cars — the city said it was also exploring moving the Charging Bull itself. But while Fearless Girl was envisioned to look right at the bull, he won’t be joining her in the plaza outside the Exchange — and Taraporevala said he wasn’t worried that the art would suffer for that.
“I think Fearless Girl stands on her own,” he said.
Yeah, well, she’s definitely on her own. But also, maybe she kind of isn’t.
In fact, one could argue that moving “Fearless Girl” away from the role she was created to play and into a less-defined one that will mute the power of her message – yet keeping her around to avoid a PR headache – is a career evolution to which many women on Wall Street will likely relate.
So why move her?
Using public safety as an excuse is always clever, but how can “Fearless Girl”s handlers really spin this move?
“Our goal is to promote the power of having women in leadership, and placing her right next to the New York Stock Exchange is really the perfect metaphor,” Cyrus Taraporevala, president and CEO of State Street Global Advisors, told The News.
The image of a defiant small young woman outside the blinkered chaos of NYSE is definitely a metaphor, but not the one we think State Street or Bill de Blasio’s City Hall might be going for here.
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the city wanted a more pedestrian-friendly location that was downtown and retained the symbolic power of the original.
“What could be more important than the sort of epicenter of corporate power?” Glen asked. “And clearly, the Fearless Girl was built to talk about that.”
Standing utterly alone and silent, staring at the halls of power from outside on an incredibly busy piece of NYC real estate that feels like a hurried demilitarized zone is a substantially different message than staring down a beastly, equally inert symbol of market forces. And statues don’t really talk, which might be an actual issue at lunchtime on Broad Street.
The bank and the city seem will continue to push hard on the narrative that “Fearless Girl” will be even more powerful standing outside NYSE than she was in the spot that she was actually designed to exist in, and from which she rose to national prominence. But this argument also seems oddly familiar to telling an outspoken woman running a successful trading desk that she’d be equally powerful and “heard” over in compliance.