For decades, an iconic bronze bull has stood at the ready in front of the New York Stock Exchange, a symbol of America’s perseverance during difficult financial times.
On March 7th the bull met what many felt was an inspirational opponent in a statue dubbed “The Fearless Girl” – a young woman standing tall and staring down the behemoth animal meant to act as a symbol of the power of women in modern American society. The only problem with the young lady’s visage is that it has adversely affected the power of bull’s symbolism, according to the artist who created and donated the beast to The Big Apple.
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“Di Modica told MarketWatch: ‘That is not a symbol! That’s an advertising trick. 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 that (my sculpture) is.’ He added to the NY Daily News: ‘I did it for all the American people. Not designed for men, women or gay.’
“State Street Global placed the Fearless Girl opposite the bull as a symbol of the company’s effort to encourage gender diversity on Wall Street. The Fearless Girl’s artist Kristen Visbal told the Wall Street Journal: ‘Wall Street is a traditionally male environment and it says, “Hey, we’re here.”‘”
Di Modica’s poignant analysis of the Fearless Girl statue may come off as simple on the surface, but the neutrality of the Charging Bull has certainly been affected by the addition of the young lady. Now, visitors attempting to determine the meaning behind the display will see a young girl ready to defend herself against a horned and angry antagonist in the animal, who was originally designed to give hope and strength to the people of America during dark economic times. By adding this young lady, the bull has been reduced to the de facto “bad guy”, and Di Modica’s concern seems well founded.