Is “Fearless Girl” Fearlessly Misplaced?

Photo by Shinya Suzuki / Flickr / Creative Commons license

It was a great idea to erect a sculpture of a fearless girl to celebrate International Women’s Day. Even better, she was erected on Wall Street, in a nod to the importance of including more women in high-level positions in business and finance.

But it seems that not everybody thought this through.

Yes, we expected some idiot would film himself molesting the statue. And it was inevitable that someone would drape her with Make America Great Again paraphernalia.

But even without those incidents, there’s something wrong with where Fearless Girl is standing.

She’s facing down a bull.

Yes, that’s what makes her fearless. Without the bull, she’d just be a girl with her hands on her hips.

But this particular bull is the symbol of a rising stock market. It’s the bull that enlarges our stock portfolio. The bull that helps us retire. The bull that makes us richer.

Now, if it were a bear, that would be an entirely different story. The bear market means declining stocks. We don’t need fearless girl to stare down the bull. We need to let the bull run. If anything, we need fearless girl to stare down the bear.

But there’s no bear statue on Wall Street. So we’re stuck with celebrating a girl who (symbolically) wants to stop the stock market from performing well.

Christina Cauterucci at Slate writes, “Now, the sculptor of the decades-old Charging Bull statue the girl “fearless”-ly faces down is claiming she doesn’t belong there in the first place. Artist Arturo Di Modica, who installed his bull sculpture under the cover of night after the 1987 stock-market crash, called on Wednesday for New York City authorities to remove the girl statue, saying it violates his rights as an artist.”

She goes on, “Though it’s rarely been invoked, the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 protects artists from having their works destroyed, moved, or altered under specific circumstances. Di Modica may have been able to argue a violation of his copyright under VARA if he could convince a judge that the city modified his work or damaged its integrity in a way that harmed his reputation, which the city almost certainly did. But the law doesn’t apply to artworks created before the law’s enactment, meaning Di Modica will have to find another legal basis if he decides to sue the city. In a press conference on Wednesday, the artist’s attorney demanded that city authorities point to any documents that might show they acted within the bounds of established procedure when they okayed Fearless Girl.”

Mayor Bill DeBlasio has made it clear where he stands. In a tweet, he wrote “Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.”

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