Girls just can’t catch a break. Especially fearless ones, made out of bronze. You’ll recall, of course, the instantly iconic statue that appeared in New York, standing defiantly, arms akimbo, squaring off against the equally iconic Charging Bull statue on Wall Street: She’s had a bit of a rough go. Which, considering what she represents, seems depressingly apt.
The statue already survived gross assaults from a random Wall Street Bro a few months ago. But it got worse for her this week. On Monday, sculptor Alex Gardega, who prefers the original Charging Bull statue (sans Fearless Girl), and who shall be hereafter known as Art Bro—because dude, check out what he did, bro—placed his statue of an intentionally ugly pug, lifting its leg to pee, right next to the feminist symbol.
Har har, Art Bro.
While this was probably just a stunt to get in the news (well done!), Art Bro explained that it was to protest how Fearless Girl, far from simply responding to Charging Bull, actually changed its meaning. He thought that this deserved some artistic hypocrisy…er, we mean retribution. Hence the pug statue peeing on the little girl statue.
A couple of things about this:
1) Ugh. Charging Bulls artist Arturo Di Modica didn’t ask for Art Bro’s help. While he might appreciate the solidarity, Di Modica has already taken his fight against Fearless Girl to the courts. So, if this were really about the integrity of an artist’s intent, Pissing Pug is kind of redundant. And gross.
2) Maybe—and we’re not claiming to be art scholars here—Fearless Girl did change how people interpret Charging Bull. But also, maybe that’s totally OK. Di Modica created his piece after the stock market crash of 1987 to be a symbol of American resilience. But, just as capitalism can encourage freedom and reward resilience, it can also be pretty oppressive to groups with less power. People like, oh, women and girls maybe? If an economic system can encompass many meanings, why can’t a statue used to represent that system also be interpreted in many ways?
3) But, dang it, Art Bro does make a valid point that Fearless Girl’s message is possibly undercut slightly by the fact that she was created by a marketing company, not some prankish feminist artist. But, at the same time, this wouldn’t be the first time marketing folks have made images that empower women. And if an image inspires, maybe it doesn’t matter that it’s technically more commerce than art.
4) But hasn’t Art Bro just strengthened Fearless Girl’s position? Now—or at least on Monday, since Pissing Pug didn’t have the permits necessary to be bolted down—she not only stood up to an angry buull, but she did it while getting zero respect. She did it even though men are taking her to court and insulting her.
Talk about fearless.