In lower Manhattan there is a famous bronze statue of a charging bull that symbolizes economic strength and courage during hard times. Seizing on the popularity of Victim Mentality, an opposing statue of a girl staring down the bull with her hands on her hips as her hair and skirt blows in the wind stands across from it was placed across from it to protest Wall Street not having enough women in it or something .
The statue was a Hedge Fund sponsored publicity play (specifically, it was released right before International Women’s Day to call for “more representation of women in corporate boardrooms” – presumably by the boardrooms who are supposedly denying qualified brilliant women to sit on their boards in favor of inferior males because I guess the thesis is that Wall Street dislikes females more than it loves money?), but that hasn’t stopped it from being lauded as a Social Justice icon for the marginalized…or something. I keep saying “or something” only because the purpose and message is so incoherent. A little girl isn’t afraid of economic strength? Why would she be? Or are its supporters praising it because they’re taking it more literally and seeing it as “girls don’t need to be afraid of giant menacing things that are about to kill them”? It just doesn’t make any sense.
But that vague incoherence is a key factor on why it’s receiving praise of course – the more minimalist the canvas, the easier it is for the audience to fill in the gaps with their own confirmation bias and ideology. It’s only the suckers like me who actually apply objective logic to the constant themes among the differing interpretations that ruin any chance of appreciating this publicity stunt as any kind of meaningful art.
The history of the bulls presence is a lot more interesting than the story of the Fearless Girl. Sculptor Arturo Di Modica, an Italian immigrant, just made the thing without direction or permit with $350,000 of his own money used to cast the 7,100 lb bronze bull and just dropped it off in front of the New York Stock Exchange in December 1989 as a gesture to lift the spirits of American traders after the stock crash of a few years earlier. That’s a uniquely American story of positivity, where as the addition of this girl staring down the bull is multi-levels of nonsense victim propaganda.
Nicole Gelinas points out that the support by the mayor of the city only sets a dangerous precedent:
That’s because the mayor has set an arbitrary precedent — this statue can stay because I like its politics — that’ll be used against the city in court. What if Black Lives Matter protesters want a statue of police brutalizing a black man in front of One Police Plaza?
But the bigger problem with Fearless Girl is that it casts stereotypes in bronze: Men do important things, and women get in the way.
The bull is the primary actor: He is charging. The girl’s job is to impede him. This is how Wall Street has long worked — and it’s changing, but slowly.
Take the management committee of State Street’s parent company. Of its 14 members, two are women. One, the chief administrative officer, is a top regulatory official. The other is the human-resources chief and “citizenship officer.”
On Goldman Sachs’ 33-member management committee, five of our women — at least four of whom are in similar, growth-restraining positions.
Yes, growth-restraining: These are great jobs and require deep skill. But they’re bureaucratic rather than entrepreneurial. If a department head — a man — wants to start up a new unit, it’s the regulatory experts who will say, no, you can’t.
Similarly, a trading head may want to hire someone — but the human-resources chief nixes it.
Indeed, the area of “compliance” — which sounds like an S&M activity but has to do with ensuring that the bank and its employees don’t launder money, steal or do other bad things — is where women have done well.
Di Modica is rightfully annoyed by the addition of the girl to his art piece, and while he is being mocked for noting that it violates his rights as an artist – he’s obviously correct. The addition of the girl is akin to that SNL skin where then Mayor Rudy Guiliani says that he will stop graffiti not by removing it from the city but by adding the word “sucks” after peoples nicknames. That’s all this dumb girl statue is: piggybacking on someone else’s art (a MANS art, no less – real feminist message there…) to flip the original message into a new and negative one. That’s a jerk move.
Slate’s Christina Cauterucci elaborates:
Before Fearless Girl came on the scene, the bull was an encouraging representation of a booming economy. Now, charging toward a tiny human, it’s a stand-in for the gendered forces that work against women’s success in the workplace. This isn’t the same kind of contextual shift that might result from a curator’s juxtaposition of two works; the girl is derivative. Di Modica meant his bull to stand alone—now, it’s as if Visbal and New York City have made a solo piece a diptych without his consent.
A diptych is a a painting on two hinged wooden panels that may be closed like a book, and that’s exactly what has happened.
So much for Artists’ rights though: Mayor Bill de Blasio has already extended the permit to allow Fearless Girl to remain on display until next year. Last week he tweeted a link to a Newsweek story about Di Modica’s complaints with a message suggesting any rejection of Fearless Girl was misogynist:
Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl. https://t.co/D2OZl4ituJ
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 12, 2017
This idiotic strawman of course feeds exactly into the Victim Propaganda message that looks past any examination of logic about the message and boils it down to the most basic of false premise’s: that women are oppressed and hated and persecuted for “taking up space”. At the time of this writing, 42 thousand people Liked that Tweet and over 20 thousand retweeted it – presumably non-ironically. That makes tens of thousands of people who sincerely believe this insane premise.
In the New York Times, Ginia Bellafante points out the elitism at play via the False Feminism of Fearless Girl
Corporate feminism operates with the singular goal of aiding and abetting a universe of mothers who tuck their daughters in at night whispering, “Someday, honey, you can lead the emerging markets and sovereign debt team at Citigroup, and then become a director at Yahoo.” The point of “Fearless Girl” was to advertise a State Street initiative pushing companies to include more women on their boards. Although the firm has said it is working to improve the number of female executives in its own ranks, it hasn’t been close to exemplary in this regard: Of its 28-person leadership team, only five are women, according to the company website.
Gavin McInnes puts it’s more bluntly: The statue only proves that feminists are dumb…