Fearless Girl, the bronze statue put up on Wall Street last year directly across from the famous Charging Bull statue, only has a week left. Originally given a one-month permit, Mayor de Blasio decided to let statue stay in place until March 8, 2018. From CNN Money:
“We are discussing various approaches to ensure this statue continues to be a part of the city’s civic life,” Natalie Grybauskas, a spokeswoman Mayor de Blasio, said in a statement.
“The message of the Fearless Girl statue has resonated with New Yorkers and visitors alike,” she added.
State Street, the asset management company that commissioned and installed the statue, said it is working with the mayor’s office to figure out a way to make “Fearless Girl” permanent.
The statue has become a symbol of female empowerment, with hundreds of tourists stopping to take photos like this one:
Fight like a girl. pic.twitter.com/qGTn46jS9W
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) April 18, 2017
Sculptor Arturo Di Modica, who created Charging Bull, has argued that the Fearless Girl statue corrupts the original meaning of his creation. Charging Bull was created in the 1980s and was meant to symbolize American economic strength. It has become visually synonymous with the NY Stock Exchange. But the addition of Fearless Girl turns the bull from a source of strength into a menace. As an attorney for Di Modica said last year, “The ‘Charging Bull’ no longer carries a positive, optimistic message. Rather it has been transformed into a negative force and a threat.” But Mayor de Blasio didn’t care about that. In fact, he pointedly dumped all over Di Modica’s complaints, suggesting they were sexist:
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
Because of her popularity, Fearless Girl may be moved to a location which would be safer for tourists looking to take a snapshot. And AdWeek reports that where she goes, Charging Bull will almost certainly follow:
According to multiple sources close to the matter, the parties have already decided to make the pair—now considered inseparable—a permanent fixture in the New York City landscape. The only issue yet to be determined is whether they will stay in their current location, which could be redesigned, or be moved to a new one.
Officials have traffic and safety concerns regarding the existing location, due to Fearless Girl’s immense popularity as a tourist destination, sources said. The current space could be redesigned to address those concerns, or both Fearless Girl and Charging Bull could be moved to a more pedestrian-friendly location nearby.
The fact that the statues are considered inseparable only proves that Di Modica was right. Defiant pose aside, Fearless Girl is a derivative piece that can’t quite stand alone. Without the bull for context, there is nothing for her to be fearless about.
There is a political angle to all of this as well, though it may not be apparent to most of the tourists taking photos with the statue. Mayor de Blasio and Elizabeth Warren are progressives, leading lights in the semi-socialist wing of the Democratic Party along with Bernie Sanders. I suspect the image of the girl standing up to a symbol of Wall Street’s financial power suits their agenda in more ways than one. Again, I’m not saying everyone who has embraced the female empowerment message of the statue agrees with that or has even considered it, but the anti-capitalist undertones of the standoff can’t be lost on a Mayor who used to support the Sandinistas. It’s a shame the original meaning of Charging Bull has been corrupted, but not at all surprising in Bill de Blasio’s New York City.