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In honor of International Women’s Day, Kristen Visbal created a statue called Fearless Girl, an image of a girl, hands on hips, striking a defiant pose. This image was then placed in from of another statue called Charging Bull (the one that represents Wall Street and America’s economic might). Fearless Girl recast Charging Bull as a symbol of misogyny, with the Girl acting as a symbol of “women in leadership.”
About a month ago, I argued that allowing Fearless Girl to permanently alter the meaning of Charging Bull would be wrong. My argument was that the sculptor of Fearless Girl should not be able to high-jack someone else’s art. To illustrate the point, I offered suggestions for additional statues that could be added to the Fearless Girl/Charging Bull scene that would undermine both artists’ intent.
What if…I added a slightly larger-than-life bronze statue called American Soldier next to Fearless Girl, demonstrating, of course, that girls can be fearless in this country only because of burly men who are willing to fight for their rights.
What if…I added a giant matador to the scene and surrounded Fearless Girl with a small group of cheering Spanish spectators. Then, the statue would be about bullfighting, and the little girl would be cast in a bit role as an obnoxious, morally preening American who disapproves of the sport.
What if…I added a lot of people in ancient middle-eastern garb, bowing to the great Bull. This would cast the Bull as the ancient middle eastern idol Baal (who was usually depicted as a bull or a man with a bull’s head). And the girl? She would be cast as an ancient Israelite who refuses to bow before the false god.
Nobody tried any of my specific suggestions, but one artist has made a similar point with his own statue called, Pissing Pug. New York sculptor Alex Gardega placed an ugly, malformed statue of a pug-dog several inches from Fearless Girl’s leg. The mutt’s own hind leg is raised and ready to mark his territory.
If you defended Fearless Girl’s moral right to stay, how can you object to Pissing Pug?