As a child raised in Wisconsin farm country, I tip-toed past the pasture of a working farm where a snorting bull complete with a ring in his nose, a short tether and fire in his belly would pound the ground if he caught wind of me. He was behind a barbed wire fence outlined around the top with an electric fence. I was absolutely terrified of him. I couldn’t get past him, get home, fast enough.
In commemoration of the International Women’s Day on March 08, 2017, a sculpture, Fearless Girl was put in opposition to the Charging Bull on Wall Street. The point being “There’s a dearth of women on the boards of the largest U.S. corporations.”
Sweet. The contrast, the juxtaposition is stark. A point is made. But like any good art, there are layers to unpack and as the day went on, I revisited the layer with the real life mis-en-scéne of a fearful little girl and an angry bull.
And so, the sculpture ‘Fearless Girl’ was a blast from the past. Like me, she doesn’t have much to fend off a riled bull. I made it. Her? She is in front of an angry, raging bull that has no nose ring, has no tether, has no barbed wire and electric fence. And she is too close to that bull to have any chance of escape.
So my second reaction to the installation of Fearless Girl is “Get her out of there!” Tout suite. Shoot the bull. Be quick. Save her!
But, maybe in another layer, Fearless Girl isn’t standing up for breaking the glass ceiling and more representation in the boardroom. Maybe she is the stand-in for all of us. All.of.us. She is standing up for everything about the United States, about us, about our freedoms, about the functioning of our imperfect union, about our national treasures, about our ideas of what it means to be American, that is priceless. She is facing down the altar of capitalism and the concept that a free market at all costs is worth it at all costs. She is staring down our very own Golden Calf in the form of the ‘Charging Bull’, taking a stand. When our politicians are not only excited, but energized by sacrificing health care, education, the environment, general welfare, and on and on at the altar of big business, privatization, granting the wealthy more wealth, we need her. Fearless Girl should remain right where she is.
She represents the future. And I hope she makes it but she needs help.
Update: Over the weekend photos were posted of ‘douchebag’, and ‘douchebag’ is a tad too polite, humping ‘Fearless Girl’. Who is raising these narcissistic entitled assholes? What little switch in their little brains says this is acceptable behavior?