Why I hate the Mary Wollstonecraft statue | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Why I hate the Mary Wollstonecraft statue | Rhiannon Lucy CosslettNovember 11, 2020

Was a tiny, silver, ripped nude really the correct way to honour ‘the mother of feminism’? Admirers like me never expected to be left contemplating whether she had a full bush

It took 200 years, not to mention a decade of fundraising, for a memorial to the great feminist thinker and writer Mary Wollstonecraft to be commissioned and unveiled today at Newington Green in north London, where she lived and worked. For too long, campaigners felt, Wollstonecraft had remained relatively obscure and, from a public art perspective at least, unlauded.

Yet the work, by Maggi Hambling, has been met with an almost immediate backlash, with people, myself included, expressing their disappointment that this tribute should manifest itself in the form of a silver nude female figure, echoing the way the female body has long been objectified and idealised by male artists, and offering little in the way of innovation or commentary on the groundbreaking work of the woman hailed as the “mother of feminism”.

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