#FearfulGirl: Fearless Girl Stands Tall for Gun Control


Fearful Girl

Fearless Girl, which was launched last year on International Woman’s Day, is taking on a new cause.

The award-wining statue of a young girl defying the infamous Wall Street charging bull, commissioned by McCann and created by Kristen Visbal, was created to raise awareness of the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards.

Honored universally, Fearless Girl won multiple Grand Prix awards at the 2017 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and the 2018 North American Grand Effie.

But for one hour last Friday, Fearless Girl donned a bulletproof vest, placed by Manuel Oliver, the father of slain Parkland school student Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, and her message changed to a protest of mass shootings in the US.

With the vest, Fearless Girl became #FearfulGirl, and Oliver’s nonprofit group Change the Ref tweeted, “She can’t be fearless if she’s afraid to go to school.’’

“I really hope that society understands that they don’t need to go through what we’re going through,’’ said Oliver. “The reality is that if we want to keep [our children] safe, ironically, we should ask them to wear bulletproof vests.”

Police arrived to remove the vest within an hour. “I knew I wasn’t allowed to have the vest on the statue,” Oliver said. “I get it, but the reaction was very supportive, even from police officers. They understood what I was doing.”

Change the Ref uses “urban art and nonviolent creative confrontation to expose the disastrous effects of the mass shooting pandemic.”

“The Fearless Girl is undeniably brave, but bravery isn’t bulletproof,” said Change the Ref, in a statement.

State Street Global Advisors worked with McCann New York to create the campaign and one year following her unveiling, State Street found that Fearless Girl’s first year helped reshape corporate boardrooms: 152 companies have added at least one woman to their boards, while 34 have immediate plans to do so. And the campaign continues to spark a conversation about women in finance—on Wall Street and beyond.

Oliver and his wife Patricia attended the Boston unveiling of a 90-foot billboard featuring a photo of their son next to the messages, “If I had attended high school in Massachusetts instead of Parkland Florida, I would likely be alive today” and “Gun laws save lives.”

As voters cast their ballots in the midterm elections on Tuesday, Time magazine reports that gun control organizations have spent more money than the NRA on this year’s elections, and gun control could be a deciding factor for voters.

When it first appeared, Fearless Girl was an immediate social media hit. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio extended the sculpture’s week-long permit for a year, then bowing to public demand, announced in February the statue would be a permanent fixture.

Fearless Girl is now in Ireland for the country’s first Climate Week, and then will return to the New York Stock Exchange.

Fearless Girl extended her message of gender equality to the preservation of human life as a grieving father and mother honor their son and 16 other students and faculty members gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Although it was just for one hour—the message continues to resonate.