WASHINGTON, April 13, 2017 — New York City is famous for its outdoor monuments. Whether it’s the green-patinaed Statue of Liberty looming over New York Harbor or the gold-gilt equestrian sculpture of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, these three-dimensional representations express both the intangible and literal.
Down on Wall Street, the bulbous “Charging Bull” sculpture by Arturo Di Modica, which has graced the Big Apple’s financial district since 1989, has been overshadowed by a metallic pipsqueak whose haughty visage is a disdainful challenge to the hulking beast bearing down on her.
The four-foot-high “Fearless Girl,” by artist Kristen Visbal, which was installed in commemoration of International Women’s Day, was scheduled for removal in early April until her stay was prolonged for nearly a year by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, bowing to pressure from women’s groups.
De Blasio heralded the extended stay as he stood by the 250-pound statue, praising her for “standing up to fear, standing up to power, being able to find in yourself the strength to do what’s right.”
In Mayor de Blasio’s mind, the defiant girl is representative of Hillary Clinton’s heroic challenge to that hard-charging, bull-in-a-china-shop known as Donald J. Trump.
Right after Clinton’s electoral defeat, observed de Blasio, “this miraculous girl appears and creates such a powerful sensation because she spoke to the moment… that women were not going to live in fear, that women were going to teach their daughters and all the women in their lives to believe in themselves.”
He forgot to mention those fearless female souls who voted for Trump, like Katie Holder, 39, of Gulf Shores, Alabama.
“I’m looking for a brighter future for me and my children,” Holder told the New York Times, “and honestly it felt like our country was kind of at risk if we did elect Hillary.”
Another woman, Victoria Czapski, told the Times Trump “had what it would take to get the country back on track” and that “being P.C. was going to kill the country.”
As the Times discovered, gender politics took a back seat to “worries about the economy, anger about the Affordable Care Act… protection of Second Amendment rights, fears about immigration and terrorism, and opposition to abortion.”
Down on Wall Street, meanwhile, “Charging Bull” artist Di Modica held a press conference to say he intends to sue the city for copywrite infringement.
“In our opinion,” said Di Modica’s attorney Norman Siegal, “a deliberate choice was made to exploit and appropriate the ‘Charging Bull’ through the placement of ‘Fearless Girl.’”
In that sense, you could say “Fearless Girl” is riding the coattails of “Charging Bull” in the exact same manner that Hillary Clinton rode the political coattails of her husband Bill.
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