If you’ve ever been to New York’s financial district, chances are you’ve seen the “Charging Bull”, or the Wall Street Bull statue – a giant, eleven foot bronze bull figure that weighs over 7,000 pounds, located right. It’s a popular New York monument of sorts, attracting thousands of tourists that will rub the horns for luck and financial prosperity. Representing fiancial optimsi, the bull was originally installed by Arturo di Modica as an unofficial art piece, but its extreme popularity led to the bull’s permanent installation. The bull’s popularity isn’t why it’s been featured in the news lately, however – the Charging Bull has hit headlines for a different reason.
A new statue was added to the Bowling Green where the bull is located on the eve of International Women’s Day (March 8). Sculptor Kristen Visbal’s “Fearless Girl”, a bronze statue of a girl, with her hands on her hips standing tall, was intended to be a message about gender diversity in Wall Street and to encourage the employment and installation of women on corporate boards.
The two scuptures show an interesting image – the bull, much larger and several tons heavier, is faced down by the much smaller, yet strong, Fearless Girl.
However, the installation of the Fearless Girl hasn’t been without controversy. Some women critizcized the Fearless Girl as a shameless publicity stunt, deeming it “corporate feminism”, and Arturo di Modica, the artist responsible for the Charging Bull, labeled it an advertising trick, publicly requesting its removal. Evidently, the mayor disagrees. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York was quoted in The New York Times, where he called the statue a symbol of “standing up to fear, standing up to power, being able to find in yourself the strength to do what’s right.” The majority of public response has been positive – a petition that was started that called for the piece’s permanent installation garnered over 2,500 signatures in the first 48 hours, and on March 27th, it was announced that the statue would remain through February 2018.