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.

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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, The New Republic, Vice, and more.

DISCUSSION

Meh. Symbols can be co-opted, and this one was co-opted the minute they placed her. No one who visits the city thinks of the statue as connected or relating to the financial industry. No tourist or resident looks at her thinks “Boy, isn’t Wall Street great for commissioning this?”