[UPDATE BELOW] The controversies surrounding the publicity-stunt-turned-feminist-thinkpiece 'Fearless Girl' statue have yet to die down, but it appears the tiny bronze icon's got one more fan—Mayor de Blasio said yesterday that he's open to extending the 'Fearless Girl's stay in the city.
— Dana Casalino (@dcasalino) March 22, 2017
The statue, commissioned by multi-trillion asset manager State Street Global Advisors, is scheduled to depart from its spot across from Bowling Green Park's famed 'Charging Bull' statue on April 2nd. Local politicians like Public Advocate Letitia James and Representative Carolyn Maloney want the statue to be made permanent, despite criticism that the statue is nothing more than a weak PR coup for the finance industry that simultaneously infantilizes feminism.
Still, at a press conference yesterday, Mayor de Blasio said the city was open to keeping the statue for longer. "In terms of a longer presence, I’m open to that and we’re going to be looking at that," he said. It's unclear whether the city will try to pursue installing the statue permanently, though. “We’re certainly going to look at the potential of prolonging the Fearless Girl’s presence [in Wall Street]," he said. “We’re hesitant to do anything permanent because, you know, that has ramifications for the whole city.”
Public Advocate James, whose office did not respond to request for comment, has heralded the statue, calling it a "symbol of diversity" and "a powerful beacon, showing women... that no dream is too big and no ceiling is too high." Some have echoed James's praise, though others have pointed out, among other things, that only five of SSGA's 28 top executives are women; that the statue is just Wall Street patting itself on the back; and that a more powerful feminist statement would have been making the statue a woman, and not a girl.
Arturo Di Modica, who sculpted the 'Charging Bull' statue in 1989, has also criticized the 'Fearless Girl' statue, calling it "an advertising trick." He told Market Watch, "My bull is a symbol for America. My bull is a symbol of prosperity and for strength...Women, girls, that's great, but that's not what [my sculpture] is."
Artist Kristen Visbal, who created the 'Fearless Girl' statue, did not respond to Gothamist's request for comment on the criticism, but she called the statue "a piece of work all women of any age, shape, color or creed can relate to," and “[a] work which reminds us today’s working woman is here to stay and has taken her place in the nation’s financial district," in a statement shortly after the statue was unveiled.
A petition calling for the statue to be made permanent had garnered 33,949 signatures as of this morning.
Update 1:38 p.m.: Public Advocate Letitia James provided Gothamist with the following statement:
Fearless Girl stands as an important symbol to women young and old and I’m pleased that the Mayor recognizes that. I hope that he doesn’t just prolong her presence, but actually makes her a permanent fixture in our City.