National Commentary

The ‘Fearless Girl’ Anti-Trump Symbol

nfbenton-mugTrump’s public unqualified defense of his body double, sleazy sexual predator Bill O’Reilly, perfectly represents the essence of what’s wrong with our politics nowadays. And by contrast, the already-iconic “Fearless Girl” bronze on Wall Street perfectly represents our hope, and our pathway, for resisting and setting it right.

The 50-inch “Fearless Girl” bronze that stands in defiance, facing down the angry, much larger “Charging Bull” on Wall Street in lower Manhattan, was installed in March and was initially intended to remain just a week. But as an amazing symbol of the fight for gender equality, and much more, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared it will remain in place at least until March of next year. My vote’s to have it stay there for good.

The sculptor of the “Charging Bull” is suing to have the “Fearless Girl” bronze removed on grounds that it “breaches his copyright and distorts his artistic message.” He accuses the girl statue of “attacking the bull.” Awww, poor angry bull!

There is a poignant truth represented in the juxtaposition of the bull and the girl, a dynamic physical confrontation of cosmic proportions.
It’s a modern David and Goliath. It’s the Chinese student standing down a tank in Tiananmen Square. It’s the young “newsie” defiantly hawking expressions of free speech on a street corner. It’s any woman who has stood down any male predator.

What makes it so unsettling to male chauvinist pigs is that the girl is postured to kick the s**t out of that bull if it dares move one step closer. Like male chauvinist pigs, the bull has no empathy or compassion in its eyes or soul. It is driven by one thing: the bestial lust for power.

That’s what makes it so appealing as a symbol of Wall Street. Installed there in 1989, at the height of the “greed is good” frenzy that led to the great crash of 2008, it’s all about the avarice, the greed, the right to own, and to transgress at will.

It’s worth remembering that the outgunned boy David was the symbolic protector of the world’s first modern republic, Florence, in the Italian Renaissance. Donatello’s earlier version, Verrocchio’s and then Michelangelo’s later one all show David having slain the giant Goliath postured in triumph.

But there are many painted masterpieces from that era showing David “in the act” of pounding senseless the giant that he’d downed with his sling shot.

David was the symbol of the defense of the people’s republic against tyranny and brutality. So today the “Fearless Girl” is a perfect representation of the same thing.

The David of David and Goliath lore, I surmise, would not have a problem with interchanging his role with that of a girl. As he defended against white male chauvinist predators, he would naturally identify and empathize with victims on whose behalf he interceded.

That’s why the “Fearless Girl” is not defined by her gender, or by whether or not it is a male or female by birth underneath that skirt. It is the defiance in defense of concord and the potential development of the human soul that is at stake.

At the heart of the matter, then, this is the challenge that Trump and his ugly culture represents for the nation and the world.
Revivals of Tony Kuchner’s award-winning two-part drama, “Angels in America,” are being staged in both London and New York this year, and the consensus is that this particular work of genius is as timely now as in 1993.

The reason given by critics is the central role in it of sociopathic New York mob attorney Roy Cohn (played in the HBO mini-series version by Al Pacino in an Emmy Award-winning performance). Cohn was Trump’s mentor in the 1970s in New York, and he’s characterized in the play just as one might characterize Trump’s behavior now.

The connection between chronic sexually predatory behavior and the indifferent rape of the poor and disadvantaged through public policy decisions cannot be overstressed.

Meanwhile in America, the middle aged white male death rate will continue to rise under the current arrangement.


Nicholas Benton may be emailed at