Remember “Attack of the 50-foot Woman?” Giant, scantily-clad female roaming the streets and causing both terror and titillation? Well, a version of that same narrative is currently taking place in San Leandro, a working-class suburb near San Francisco, California.
Last week, a group unveiled a 55-foot-tall statue of a nude dancer, but this massive, steel-mesh naked lady came with a message. At the base of the statue reads a sign: “What would the world be like if women were safe?”
If the folks behind the monument and the message wanted attention, they sure got it. But, as you might imagine, most of the current conversation is not about the message or the general artistic merit of the monument itself. Folks are arguing about whether or not the statue should be allowed in public at all.
Now, you might think that nude art would not be a “thing” in this day and age. After all, anyone can stop into a museum and see nudes in every conceivable media. And, of course, more than half the population can see a nude female form every single time they step into the shower … But that fact seems to have escaped some folks in San Leandro.
The Associated Press captured some comments from offended Californians:
Tonette Watts said: “If she’s a ballerina, she should have some clothes on… If you’ve got kids, you do not want them seeing that.”
Keith Verville asked: “Why is it so big? And SO not clothed?”
Those behind the statue may eagerly answer Keith’s question by saying, “it’s big because we want you to notice … now think about the message.”
However, Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter has a different opinion, “This is something I’d never have thought would come to San Leandro… It’s edgy and modern, and it makes me proud.”
Cutter admitted to the AP that some city officials weren’t exactly happy with the statue, which was purchased and moved to the site after making its original debut at Burning Man. But, Cutter said, the officials were interested in starting a conversation about art. No mention, at this point, if they actually want to have a conversation about the message of said art.