Despite all the dialogues about equality, women and non-binary people are still stereotyped even in Western countries, especially if they try to fit into male-dominated spaces. They have long been discriminated against by society and made to believe that they are inferior or less important than men.
Project Fearless, founded by Mérida Miller, is a space to build an empowering and supportive atmosphere by organizing activities for girls and non-binary youth (aged 9-14) in Amsterdam. They can learn new skills while discovering who they are, on their own terms. It’s about progress and the process of doing, moving away from perfectionist thinking and encouraging a growth mindset.
Project Fearless provides them with the opportunity to be part of a team and this is meant to teach the importance of supporting, uplifting, motivating, and investing in others’ success. Also, it aims to create a truly open and accepting environment welcoming gender fluid, polygender, and gender non-conforming people, as well as those who are currently discovering their self-identity. At the start of each course, they ask all their participants to state their pronouns, to respect everyone’s identity.
The collaboration with Project Fearless and the desire to work on a photographic series named “Faces of Fearless” were born because I stand with Mérida’s purpose: it’s essential to empower young girls and non-binary youth to define how they see themselves from scratch.
From there, from their confidence and self-awareness, we could make a difference in how our culture considers girls, women and gender-diverse people.
The series consists of 10 photographs portraying one kid for each activity. Each image comes with a brief statement, where each subject answers the question ”What makes you fearless”?
Alma, Run club
“I’ve been doing this course for a really long time and I kept up even when it was hard and I just really try to do my best a lot and don’t give up that much. That’s what makes me fearless.”
Zoë, Skateboarding (age group 9-11)
‘’I think that it makes me fearless that I’m a girl and I’m on a board in a skatepark and there are a lot of boys but I still can do cool tricks so that can make me fearless.’’
Meesha, Skateboarding (age group 12-14)
‘’What makes me fearless is probably being able to see other women and girls doing stuff I want to do, so when I see them doing it I know I am able to do it and I just have the urgent need to just go and try out.’’
‘’ What makes me fearless, I guess knowing that when you finish doing what you’ve done you’re still ok, if you don’t want to do something, you’ll still be fine afterwards, so yeah, I get courage from that if I’m scared to do something like a corona test .’’
Miriam, Kickboxing (centrum)
“ What makes me fearless is knowing that everyone will support me when I try something new and knowing that if others can do it, I can too. And that everyone is really nice and that I will be supported.”
“What makes me fearless it’s especially my attitude. So when I just decided to just go for it, then I’m already in the middle of the action. So I don’t have to think of the fears as much as before, because if I don’t then I just think through everything, and then it makes me more scared, so just going for it is the easiest way. Also being supported by other people, because I feel like there’s always something positive in what I do, and being optimistic.”
Terriann, ARTivism with Polaroid
“I dare to stand up for other people, not only myself, and I think that makes me fearless’’
“I’m not scared of things I’m doing and I’m doing things I want to do.’’
“Football makes me fearless because I am able to clear my head when I’m playing and I don’t think of anything anymore”
Tenzin, Kickboxing (New West)
“I am not scared to dance and be on stage, and be in front of people and perform.”