Enough of This, Please

Illustration for article titled Enough of This, Please
Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

Fearless Girl is back in a bid to annoy me, specifically. I’m not sure when exactly I stopped thinking about her, but now that I’ve been forced to start again I realize it was nice having one less corporate feminist avatar cluttering my brain.

The statue garnered renewed attention on Monday when a lace collar appeared around her neck in honor of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was known for her closet full of elaborate collars, which she sometimes used to make a statement about the Supreme Court cases she was ruling on.  

It might have been a nice gesture, were it not for the fact that the statue— a supposed paean to women’s empowerment—is literal sponcon for Wall Street, including this latest version of it.


Fearless Girl,” which first appeared opposite the “Charging Bull” in 2017, was commissioned by an investment firm to advocate for more women executives in finance. After news of Ginsburg’s death, that same firm put the collar on the statue and had a photo of it printed in a full-page ad in the New York Times, accompanied by the tagline “Here’s to the original.”

I find all of this horribly tiresome. The statue doesn’t represent any meaningful contribution to feminism, nor is it a meaningful tribute to Ginsburg. In a way though, it is fitting: Just as some people would like to see Fearless Girl as a straightforward representation girl power, so do they wish to think of Ginsburg and her legacy as being purely inspiring and uncomplicated.

I’ll continue to think about what comes after Ginsburg, but I hereby banish Fearless Girl from my thoughts forever.

Night blogger at Jezebel with writing at The Baffler, The Nation, Vice, Gothamist, The Awl, and more.

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so do they wish to think of Ginsburg and her legacy as being purely inspiring and uncomplicated.

Those articles you linked to are really just about how other people meme-ified Ginsberg. Jezebel 100% participated in the meme-ification of Ginsburg. That’s really about how some other people perceive her legacy.

Ginsburg herself rightly did not lean into or openly reject that because Ginsburg recognized that it was all largely the harmless fun of people who could all pretty much be her grandchildren.

I also think it’s especially poor form to say her legacy was “Complicated”. “Complicated” or the negative usage of “uncomplicated” is typically used when talking about someone who did good things but also did some very notable bad things.

What are the notable bad things Ginsburg did?

Ginsburg’s legacy will always be the body of work she put in, and if you want to understand that you have to put in more work than either of those articles or this Wall Street firm would.

Note that if your answer can basically be deduced to being miffed over the fact that Ginsburg was not a 3rd wave feminist, this isn’t something that anyone outside of a handful of humanities professors and students and a few neighborhoods in New York gives a flying fuck about.

There’s a much stronger critique of this spon con to be had. Why not call up the firm and ask them whether fearless girl standing up to Wall Street as RBG should be interpreted as their firm coming out against Citizen’s United with the same fervor RBG was against it?