The artist of the Charging Bull sculpture wants the ‘fearless girl’ removed, and so do I.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Di Modica’s attorney Norman Siegel argued that Fearless Girl infringes on Di Modica’s artistic copyright by “changing the creative dynamic” of his original work and ask that it be removed and placed elsewhere in the city:
“Very simply, we request, respectfully, that the Fearless Girl statue be removed. We’re not asking it to be banned… Gender equality is a very serious, substantial issue. It’s permeated throughout our society. For years, civil rights people have fought for gender equality… So that’s a real issue. None of us here today are in any way not proponents of gender equality. But there are issues of copyright and trademark that needed to be and still need to be addressed. So, remove her and place her somewhere else in the city.”
Fearless Girl is cloying, corporate feminism sponsored by a company that only has three women on its fourteen person board of directors. Only 28 percent of State Street’s senior vice-presidents are women, as are a measly 23 percent of executive vice-presidents. In defense of those stats, the company’s head of public relations told the Huffington Post that those numbers are “better than zero.” Can’t argue with that kind of logic. Who says women are bad at math?
So Fearless Girl is a cutesy signifier that signifies nothing, an accessory for selfies. She doesn’t challenge any preconceived notions about what girls can do or be; girls have long worn skirts and ponytails and played outside. Fearless girls are adored and celebrated in literature, popular culture, and life. It’s once girls become women that all their ambition scans as irritating instead of spunky, as off-putting instead of endearing. The same society that roots for ambition in girls is one that that socially, professionally, and politically punishes ambition in the women those girls will become. It’s women, not girls, who have pesky needs and opinions and goals and sex drives and reproductive organs that make their ambition too problematic to accept.
Oh, I could not possibly agree more. That girl irritated the hell out of me from the start. What, exactly is radical about a young girl in a dress? The image itself is stock straight out of the 1950s, ponytail and flared skirt. Might as well have done her up in a poodle skirt. That aside, my major problem with it was that it was a girl. The protests, the marches, they were about women. Adult women, who in the United States, are still treated as barely above chattel, and who every single day, face a fight over their right to live with the full rights accorded to men. Do we have bodily autonomy? No. Are we paid equal wages? No. Is violence against women taken seriously? No. Is there widespread parental leave and accommodation? No. Are male parents treated the same as female parents? No. Is harassment taken seriously? No. And on it goes. You can idealize girls all you like, you can tell girls they can do anything they like, but what is the point of that when they run smack into the reality of being a woman? And what about the actual reality of growing up girl? It’s not all sweet, rosy, and flying high with ambition as represented. Young girls hit the wall of rooted misogyny very early. Just ask any parent. Parents of boys are just as challenged, as they watch their sons absorbing deep rooted toxic sexism and toxic masculinity. It’s a constant fight, and it’s not one which will get any easier unless we tackle these issues head on, clear-eyed, with a focus on reality.
I don’t really care why the “fearless” girl is removed, as long as she is, and I do take Mr. Di Modica’s point. His art work should not have to suffer at the whim of a piece of marketing fluff straight out of the 1950s. Go away, fearless girl. Give me a call when you’re all grown up.
Full story at Think Progress.