(UK) Mary Wollstonecraft statue criticized: Why is she naked? (au naturel fashions)

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https://metro.co.uk/2020/11/10/new-mary-...-13572024/

EXCERPTS: A statue of pioneering philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft has provoked a strong backlash just hours after being put on display. The sculpture, which portrays a naked woman held up by a swirling mingle of female forms, was erected in Newington Green, Islington, after a decade-long campaign to memorialise ‘the mother of feminism’.

But the silvered-bronze piece, by Maggi Hambling CBE, has been heavily criticised as ‘disrespectful’ with many questioning why it is showing a naked woman that is not a lifelike depiction of Wollstonecraft herself. The 18th century author was known as a radical thinker who fought for women’s rights and education for all.

[...] Journalist Caitlin Moran tweeted: ‘If you want to make a naked statue that represents “every woman”, in tribute to Wollstonecraft, make it eg: a naked statue of Wollstonecraft dying, at 38, in childbirth, as so many women did back then – ending her revolutionary work. That would make me think, and cry."

[...] Writer Tracy King tweeted: ‘There is no reason to depict Mary naked unless you are trying to be edgy to provoke debate. Statues of named men get to be clothed because the focus is on their work and achievements. Meanwhile, women walking or jogging through parks experience high rates of sexual harassment because our bodies are considered public property.’

But organisers said [...] that ‘the figure is representative of the birth of a movement’ – feminism. Ms Hambling ... said critics had misunderstood. ... She said those who have criticised it ‘are not reading the word, the important word, which is on the plinth quite clearly: “for” Mary Wollstonecraft. It’s not “of” Mary Wollstonecraft.’

But historian Simon Schama tweeted that he ‘always wanted a fine monument to Wollstonecraft – this isn’t it’.

Cardiff University lecturer Emily Cock wrote: ‘Finally, public acknowledgement that women in the eighteenth century were stark naked and extremely small.’

[...] Another said: ‘I, for one, am loving the new Mary Wollstonecraft statue. I had no idea Mary had shredded abs or bouffant pubes.’ (MORE - details, image)


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