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By Andrea Peyser
April 3, 2017
So many people have gotten it so wrong about “Fearless Girl.” The statue of a pint-size female, arms planted defiantly on her hips as she stares down the rendering of a bull charging through New York City’s Financial District, has morphed into a kind of feminist Rorschach test.
The metallic minor is widely seen as a symbol of girl power in the face of virulent alleged sexism. Or, an epic cry against gals’ supposed pay inequity as compared to dudes’ throughout America, particularly in the monetary sector.
The 4-foot-tall artwork, erected in honor of International Women’s Day last month and originally scheduled to be removed Sunday, was even branded in a Post editorial as an ingenious advertising gimmick worthy of “Mad Men’s” Don Draper, cooked up by Boston-based State Street Global Advisors investment company.
State Street employs just a handful of women in top executive positions, even fewer than the abysmal numbers posted by other Wall Street firms.
And yet, some “Fearless” critics, myself included, aren’t buying into the sculpture’s defeatist message. We see the bronze babe as representing something else: A blow to the collective gut of the fairer sex.
Why, in this age of unprecedented social, political and economic gains enjoyed by those living and working as females, should we be expected to wallow in victimhood?
Yet “Fearless Girl,” which Mayor de Blasio last week guaranteed will stand its ground in lower Manhattan through February 2018, while others push for permanent residency, is more than attracting the eyeballs and cellphone cameras of tourists and city residents alike.
The unmoving girl child perpetrates myths of women’s powerlessness, while fomenting self-pity and anti-male sentiment that helps no one.
Ironically, that bull statue was never intended as an expression of male power — but of American prosperity and strength.
“I think it’s a problematic sense you get from the statue — the American economy is trying to run this girl over,’’ Carrie Lukas, managing director of the Independent Women’s Forum think tank, told me.
“American women are more likely than any women on earth to be managers in corporations. They can run for office, start a new business, work hard and earn a lot,’’ she said. They even can choose to be stay-at-home mothers.
Warren Farrell, Ph.D., was a devoted feminist who, for three years in the 1970s, was the first and only man elected to the board of directors of the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Then he started writing books, including 2005’s “Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap — and What Women Can Do About It,’’ which nuked the gospel of male earnings superiority, and made him persona non grata on the liberal speaking circuit. Farrell revealed that young, never-married, childless women earned 117 percent of the sum raked in by similar dudes.
His source? It wasn’t some fringe men’s-rights group, but the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It’s been an article of faith by feminists and the administration of former President Barack Obama that gals earn less than guys — the pay disparity recently was pegged at 79 cents for females compared to each dollar raked in annually by males. But when one factors in things such as education level or years of experience, the pay gap starts to vanish. It dwindles completely when one considers that women lose earning power voluntarily when they jump off the fast track or scale back careers to become mothers.
That doesn’t entirely explain the lack of women on Wall Street. But Farrell says that, too, can be chalked up to choice.
“Many people [in finance] work 60, 70 hours a week,” he said. He conducted a study that determined many women who achieve high salaries, as opposed to men, tend to kick back in favor of more satisfying, and lower-paying, work-life balances.
I can think of better places that “Fearless Girl” should live as a celebration of womanly achievement, not a sign of defeat. How about Harvard Yard? Women today earn about 60 percent of postsecondary degrees. Or the grounds of NASA? Working there from the 1940s, African-American female mathematicians were instrumental in putting Americans in space and white men on the moon, as depicted in the flick “Hidden Figures.”
How about Chappaqua, home of Hillary Clinton, the first female major-party candidate for president of the United States?
Where she exists today, “Fearless Girl” is an insult to women as well as men.
By Andrea Peyser
March 31, 2017
Nikki Haley, the “new sheriff in town,’’ is taking no guff from anti-Semites disguised as Israel-haters infesting the United Nations, that den of obscene bigots and butcher-lovers that sits, like a giant middle finger pointing at America, on the East Side of Manhattan.
After years of being shuttled to the back of the proverbial bus, folks in the Jewish community, plus all who value freedom and decency, are breathing sighs of sweet relief. Say what you will about the administration of President Trump, its insiders have the Jewish state’s back.
With Haley’s ascent to the top of this country’s diplomatic heap, high-ranking UN officials and ambassadors are shaking in their Italian loafers.
Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told me, “They are taking threats to cut funding very seriously.’’
For Haley to “go into that arena of hostility, having someone stand up for Israel — it’s most reassuring to people everywhere,’’ enthused Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis.
The married mother of two, 45, was confirmed by the Senate in January as the United States ambassador to the UN, whose headquarters sit uneasily on an “international’’ no-man’s-land that isn’t considered American soil.
Yet freeloading diplos show little gratitude toward US taxpayers for financing the party venue’s operational and peacekeeping budgets to the tune of more than $3.5 billion this year, by far the largest share paid by any member nation.
I have suggested that UN headquarters would be put to better use as luxury condos, perhaps with affordable units sprinkled in.
But suddenly, everything has changed.
Haley burst into the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, DC, Monday, kicking butt and taking names.
To Potasnik, she was a “rock star.’’
“The days of Israel-bashing are over,” she declared to enthusiastic applause.
“For anyone who says you can’t get anything done at the UN, they need to know there is a new sheriff in town.”
She said, “I wear heels. It’s not for a fashion statement, it’s because if I see something wrong, we’re gonna kick ’em every time.’’ And so, she ushered in a new era of support for Israel, this country’s great ally in the Middle East. It’s the only democracy in the region and the only place there in which LGBT types live and love freely without fear of persecution or murder, women enjoy equal rights, and all people are free to worship, or not, as they choose.
And yet, many political progressives and naysayers, here and abroad, malign Israel to the point of wishing the country wiped from the map.
It makes zero sense.
Haley, the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants, converted to Christianity and served as the Republican governor of South Carolina, finding her mojo as a defender of civil and human rights. She pushed for and won the removal of the Confederate battle flag, seen by many as a symbol of racism, from the grounds of the State House in 2015.
The same year, she became the first chief executive officer in the nation to sign a law banning her state’s government from doing business with any company participating in the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement — BDS — or with any firm discriminating “based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin of the targeted person or entity.”
The relationship between Israel and the administration of former President Barack Obama was strained, to put it mildly, culminating in the US joining in the Israel-threatening nuclear deal with Iran, and this country’s abstention from December’s UN Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements. Haley described the move at AIPAC as “embarrassing” and “hurtful.”
Yet pro-Israel reps would not blame Obama entirely for the bad blood. “This hostility long preceded President Obama,’’ said Hoenlein.
This month, Haley demanded that a UN commission withdraw a report that described Israel as an “apartheid state’’ — trashing it for the self-defensive treatment of Palestinians. The fracas, and demands for retraction from the UN secretary general, prompted Rima Khalaf, then-executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, to resign her post. Good.
The report was yanked from the commission’s Web site.
Peace in the Middle East can only be achieved if both sides come together at the bargaining table, and the Palestinian side has refused to sit back down with the Israelis.
Haley understands that healing differences is as simple as that.
What a menschette.