On March 7, 2017, a statue was put up on Wall Street across from the symbolic Charging Bull. This statue, called “Fearless Girl,” is a simple bronze statue of a little girl, facing the bull, hands on her hips, standing fearlessly. It isn’t surprising that certain people, especially the creator of the Charging Bull statue, want her to be removed. The reason that people want her removed, that she represents a female challenging something ruled by men, is the very reason she should stay.
The Charging Bull was placed on Wall Street in the middle of the night after the stock market crash of 1987. It was originally created to represent the strength of the American economy but has since become a symbol of American headstrong stupidity (at least in my eyes). The creator of the Charging Bull statue, Arturo Di Modica, said that the Fearless Girl is disrespectful to his work. According to the Washington post, he isn’t against feminism, he just thinks that it’s wrong that the art he made to represent America now looks “menacing.” Di Modica, while undeniably talented and devoted to the country that he immigrated to, seems to have missed the point.
The Charging Bull has now been challenged. Its spotlight has been stolen by a little girl, and some people can’t stand that. I find this hilarious. It is hilarious to me that some people, mostly men, are so obviously against a statue that represents a challenge. They can’t handle being even symbolically challenged.
This is nothing new in art, business or politics. Whenever a female makes herself known, it becomes the duty of the patriarchy to take her down. Back in 1863 a beautiful, famous painting of a prostitute called “Olympia” was hated by society because of her confident position and the crossing of her legs, reminding the viewer that she does not belong to them, that she is merely making a business transaction. The biblical story of Judith — a powerful, brave woman defending her town, decapitating Holofernes, a man who was clearly described as evil and who was going to destroy her home town — was somehow twisted in Northern Europe into a story about a woman who is bloodthirsty and impure. The statues of the first female pharaoh, Hatshepsut, were all destroyed by her son after her death in 1458 BCE because he hated the idea of a woman naming herself Pharaoh and ruling Egypt. Even in 2016, when many believe that feminism isn’t needed anymore, the Electoral college was so threatened by a potential female president that they elected a moron who is now getting us into a war with a country that he can’t even remember the name of. According to the patriarchy, even representations of women in power can’t be allowed.
In the short time that Fearless Girl has been standing, she’s been ruthlessly ridiculed. Attempts to diminish her symbol abound. A Wall Street worker was seen and photographed humping the statue, his coworkers cheering him on.
The statue is of a little girl, so while it’s not only pathetic that a grown man thought sexualizing her would be funny, it’s also creepy and inappropriate. Fearless Girl is even believed to be a publicity stunt, a snub at women in power, since the companies that funded her are also run dominantly by men. The very fact that Wall Street men themselves are against the statue makes me believe that, whether or not she is actually meant to be an attack on women, she’s fulfilling the purpose imposed by her creator, Kristen Visbal, who said of the project, “This is a piece of work all women of any age, shape color or creed can relate to. A work which reminds us today’s working woman is here to stay and has taken her place in the nation’s financial district.”
The Fearless Girl statue is inspirational to me. Not only does her plaque read, “Know the power of women in leadership,” she was placed on International Women’s day. Not to mention that the Charging Bull wasn’t even put up with a permit while the Fearless Girl was.
She was originally supposed to be there for a week but the mayor has decided to leave her for at least a year, due to the publicity she is attracting. Even after she is taken down, if she is taken down, the message of hope and power she spreads will remain.