Awareness Through Art? Or Deviant Defacement?

The “Fearless Girl” is a statue in New York City placed at the Financial District of Manhattan promoting female empowerment, such as women in leadership positions. However, on November 2, 2018, a bulletproof vest was placed on the statue by the organization known as “Change the Ref”. The organization was founded by the parents of a 17-year old active shooter victim at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. To send a message to the public and the midterm elections pertaining to school shootings, this act was exhibited. Typically, more positives such as winter clothes would be placed on her and selfies taken, but for the parents of Joaquin Oliver, it was another story, a story of gun control. The organization tweeted, “She can’t be fearless if she’s afraid to go to school”. One must wonder if this truly violates the original message that the statue is supposedly to represent and may be misinterpreted? Does this act yield the same degree of crimes committed as that of graffiti murals on the walls of buildings? The bulletproof vest was taken off approximately an hour later as seemingly requested by law enforcement. It would seem unlikely that request for the vest to be removed would be exhibited if it were the typical winter clothes and selfies?


Karel Vohat. (2018, November 4). Fearless Girl Becomes Fearful Girl In Wake of Americas School Shootings [Video file]. Retrieved from

Riotta, C. (2018, November 2). Fearless girl statue dressed in bulletproof vest on Wall Street: ‘She can’t be fearless if she’s afraid to go to school’. Independent. Retrieved from

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Sunny Cheung

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