• The Infantilizing Ways We Talk About Women’s Ambition - The New Yorker
    http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-infantilizing-ways-we-talk-about-womens-ambition?mbid=social_facebook

    http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Tolentino-TheInfantilizingWaysWeTalkAboutWomensAmbition-690.jpg

    Another prominent symbol of female ambition put forward this year is a statue of an elementary-school student: the bronze “Fearless Girl” staring down the famous bull on Wall Street. The statue was conceived by an advertising agency for an investment firm whose twenty-eight-person leadership team contains five women; according to the sculptor, Kristen Visbal, the statue “reminds us today’s working woman is here to stay.” It’s dismaying, and revealing, that this message is most easily conveyed through a figure of a girl—her skirt and ponytail blown back in the breeze, cheerfully unaware of the strained, exhausted, overdetermined future that awaits her.

    Enfin quelqu’un relève le problème avec cette statue!

    #sexisme #jeunisme

    • #filles

      Proceeds from this merchandise are directed toward the Tory Burch Foundation, which helps support women entrepreneurs. (It administers a small fellows program and connects women to business education and affordable loans.)

      Ça me fait penser à Lean In ! et ces trucs pour intégrer mieux les femmes à entrepreneuriat capitaliste. Le féminisme, c’est quand la réussite sociale a un visage de femme, misère.

      But in much of American popular culture women’s ambition is now encouraged at a fever pitch. Ads frequently show images of frighteningly ambitious women: a recent Equinox campaign showed a model sitting in a restaurant, wearing expensive formalwear and breastfeeding twins. It is standard practice for mainstream women’s publications to celebrate any woman who has achieved any degree of wealth or prominence, regardless of what that success might be or mean.

      Reading one crackling, cheerless narrative after another, I started to feel that there was another—and possibly trickier—conflict at work. Ambition will always be complicated for women, and not just because of external impediments: it is an imperfect drive, enacted in imperfect circumstances, that inevitably leads to imperfect things. The more compelling essays in “Double Bind” address this head on. Elizabeth Corey, a political-science professor at Baylor, cautions against the extreme focus on success and productivity that one sees applied to both work and motherhood. “We simply cannot approach marriage and family in the spirit of achievement at all,” she writes.

      She adds, “What I would like to say is Lean In my hairy Jewish ass.” Albert spells out the foolishness of trying to generalize about ambition: the desire to be a first-generation college student isn’t easily comparable to the desire to shatter a glass ceiling or own a luxury car or write a work of genius. “Our contexts are not the same, our struggles are not the same, and so our rebellions and complacencies and conformities and compromises cannot be compared.”

    • seriously, the guy has a point | gregfallis.com
      https://gregfallis.com/2017/04/14/seriously-the-guy-has-a-point
      https://gregfallisdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/charging-bull.jpg

      Back in 1987 there was a global stock market crash. Doesn’t matter why (at least not for this discussion), but stock markets everywhere — everywhere — tanked. Arturo Di Modica, a Sicilian immigrant who became a naturalized citizen of the U.S., responded by creating Charging Bull — a bronze sculpture of a…well, a charging bull. It took him two years to make it. The thing weighs more than 7000 pounds, and cost Di Modica some US$350,000 of his own money. He said he wanted the bull to represent “the strength and power of the American people”. He had it trucked into the Financial District and set it up, completely without permission. It’s maybe the only significant work of guerrilla capitalist art in existence.

      People loved it. The assholes who ran the New York Stock Exchange, for some reason, didn’t. They called the police, and pretty soon the statue was removed and impounded. A fuss was raised, the city agreed to temporarily install it, and the public was pleased. It’s been almost thirty years, and Charging Bull is still owned by Di Modica, still on temporary loan to the city, still one of the most recognizable symbols of New York City.

      Arturo Di Modica (the one in the beret)

      And that brings us to March 7th of this year, the day before International Women’s Day. Fearless Girl appeared, standing in front of Charging Bull. On the surface, it appears to be another work of guerrilla art — but it’s not. Unlike Di Modica’s work, Fearless Girl was commissioned. Commissioned not by an individual, but by an investment fund called State Street Global Advisors, which has assets in excess of US$2.4 trillion. That’s serious money. It was commissioned as part of an advertising campaign developed by McCann, a global advertising corporation. And it was commissioned to be presented on the first anniversary of State Street Global’s “Gender Diversity Index” fund, which has the following NASDAQ ticker symbol: SHE. And finally, along with Fearless Girl is a bronze plaque that reads:

      Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.

      Note it’s not She makes a difference, it’s SHE makes a difference. It’s not referring to the girl; it’s referring to the NASDAQ symbol. It’s not a work of guerrilla art; it’s an extremely clever advertising scheme. This is what makes it clever: Fearless Girl derives its power almost entirely from Di Modica’s statue. The sculptor, Kristen Visbal, sort of acknowledges this. She’s said this about her statue:

      “She’s not angry at the bull — she’s confident, she knows what she’s capable of, and she’s wanting the bull to take note.”

      It’s all about the bull. If it were placed anywhere else, Fearless Girl would still be a very fine statue — but without facing Charging Bull the Fearless Girl has nothing to be fearless to. Or about. Whatever. Fearless Girl, without Di Modica’s bull, without the context provided by the bull, becomes Really Confident Girl.

      Fearless Girl also changes the meaning of Charging Bull. Instead of being a symbol of “the strength and power of the American people” as Di Modica intended, it’s now seen as an aggressive threat to women and girls — a symbol of patriarchal oppression.

      In effect, Fearless Girl has appropriated the strength and power of Charging Bull. Of course Di Modica is outraged by that. A global investment firm has used a global advertising firm to create a faux work of guerrilla art to subvert and change the meaning of his actual work of guerrilla art. That would piss off any artist.

      See? It’s not as simple as it seems on the surface. It’s especially complicated for somebody (like me, for example) who appreciates the notion of appropriation in art. I’ve engaged in a wee bit of appropriation my ownself. Appropriation art is, almost by definition, subversive — and subversion is (also almost by definition) usually the province of marginalized populations attempting to undermine the social order maintained by tradition and the establishments of power. In the case of Fearless Girl, however, the subversion is being done by global corporatists as part of a marketing campaign. That makes it hard to cheer them on. There’s some serious irony here.

      And yet, there she is, the Fearless Girl. I love the little statue of the girl in the Peter Pan pose. And I resent that she’s a marketing tool. I love that she actually IS inspiring to young women and girls. And I resent that she’s a fraud. I love that she exists. And I resent the reasons she was created.

      cc @mona @philippe_de_jonckheere