Fearless Girl vs. Pissing Pug
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Donald Trump and Angela Merkel trade barbs, VCs with daughters have better returns, and the Fearless Girl is back in the headlines yet again. Have a good Wednesday.
• Girl vs. dog. I thought the we were done with the controversies surrounding Wall Street’s Fearless Girl statue. Silly me.
On Monday, artist Alex Gardega placed a sculpture of a dog, lifting its leg to pee, next to the bronze figure of the pony-tailed girl. Gardega, whose Pissing Pug (yes, actual title) was removed after a few hours, told the New York Post that he created the dog to protest the “corporate nonsense” of Fearless Girl, which was installed by an asset management firm. “It has nothing to do with feminism, and it is disrespectful to the artist that made the bull,” said Gardega, referring to Charging Bull, the iconic statue that stands across from the girl.
Arturo Di Modica, who designed the bull, has also objected to Fearless Girl, saying that the placement of the statue unfairly changes the meaning of his work.
Not surprisingly, some viewers are calling the image of a dog peeing on a young girl misogynist. And while Gardega maintains that his statue is “pro-feminism,” I don’t buy it. It’s valid to critique Fearless Girl as a corporate marketing tactic—and one sponsored by a firm that does not yet have its own house in order on gender equity, no less. But for a visual artist to dismiss the symbolism of the image he created strikes me as naive. Gardega’s intent aside, his statue sends viewers a clear message about bold little girls: This is what they deserve.
Di Modica, the bull’s creator, objects to the placement of Fearless Girl because he believes it influences the way observers see his statue, distracting from his original intent. Similarly, Gardega may want viewers to see his installation as a critique of corporate appropriation of feminism, but given the way our society treats little girls—and the women they become—I suspect most viewers won’t be able to get beyond the image of yet another degraded woman. Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Transatlantic tiff. President Trump came after Germany on Twitter, accusing the nation of underpayment to NATO. The message appears to be a response to Angela Merkel’s statement that the EU can no longer depend on “others” (read: the U.S. and Britain). Merkel held her ground yesterday, though she did note that, “Transatlantic relations are of paramount importance.” With German elections coming up in September, political analysts say Merkel must put some distance between herself and Trump, who is widely disliked in the country. Washington Post
• Chastain: Off the chain. Jessica Chastain, who has spoken frequently about Hollywood’s gender pay gap, told a panel audience at the Cannes Film Festival that she found the way women were portrayed in the movies she watched at the festival to be “quite disturbing.” The fix for the lack of strong, interesting female roles, according to the actress? “More female storytellers.” Fortune
• Daughters = dollars. This fascinating Harvard study finds that venture capital firms where more partners have daughters outperform those with fewer. Why? Those firms also tend to be more gender diverse. “Parenting daughters reduces the bias that one has towards women, which leads to more female hires,” write the researchers. Fortune
• Inside Uber. Former U.S. AG Eric Holder is expected to present his report on Uber’s workplace issues―including allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination―to the company’s board of directors today. The findings will reportedly be shared with Uber employees on June 6. Axios
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Oberlin College has named Carmen Ambar, former president of Cedar Crest College, its new president. She is the first African-American to hold the position. NPR has hired Pallavi Gogoi as chief business editor. She is currently a senior editor at CNN. Proterra named Amy Ard CFO. She previously held the same job at AMG. The company also hired JoAnn Covington, former SVP and general counsel at Rocket Fuel, as chief legal officer.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Girl, please. Sick of being referred to as a “girl” at work, Reddit user breadditor_ created a Google Chrome extension that changes the words “man” and “men” into “boy” and “boys” on the Internet. Inspired by her creativity, Fortune‘s Valentina Zarya rounds up four other Chrome extensions “every feminist needs.” Fortune
• An ad, ad, ad, ad world. Ad Age‘s annual list of the women to watch in advertising and marketing is out. Ad Age
• One Love Manchester. Ariana Grande announced that she—and guests like Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry—will perform a benefit concert in Manchester, England on June 4, almost two weeks after the attack at her show there killed 22 and wounded dozens more. New York Times
• Diva to downmarket. Bloomberg looks into why Ivanka Trump pivoted her company toward the mid-market, despite her original plan to be a high-end luxury brand. The story also touches on how Donald Trump’s political career has impacted the company, concluding: “In the end, the future of Ivanka Trump’s brand may be less dependent on the success of her downmarket strategy than on the success of her father’s presidency.” Bloomberg
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