Christmas reveller uses festive red cape to cover up controversial naked sculpture celebrating ‘mother of feminism’ Mary Wollstonecraft
- Statue was unveiled last month in Newington Green, North London
- Critics previously said the sculpture depicted a ‘naked silver Barbie doll’
- Photos taken on Sunday showed front of the female figure had been obscured
- It was previously covered up with a black t-shirt a day after its unveiling
A controversial statue of a naked woman celebrating the ‘mother of feminism’ Mary Wollstonecraft has been covered up with a festive cape.
The statue, produced by artist Maggi Hambling to pay tribute to the 18th-Century feminist, provoked uproar when it was unveiled last month in Newington Green, North London.
It depicts a nude figure atop what was described as a 10ft-high ‘swirling mingle of female forms’.
Just a day after its unveiling, it was covered up with a black T-shirt by a self-declared ‘radical lesbian activist’ who objected to the fact it was naked.
Although the t-shirt was quickly removed, photos taken by MailOnline on Sunday showed that a Christmas reveller had again covered up the statue, this time with a red cape.
A controversial statue of a naked woman celebrating the ‘mother of feminism’ Mary Wollstonecraft has been covered up with a festive cape
The statue, produced by artist Maggi Hambling to pay tribute to the 18th-Century feminist, provoked uproar when it was unveiled last month in Newington Green, North London
The pictures showed the front of the female figure being obscured by the cape, which was still there on Tuesday.
Critics had slammed Ms Hambling for reducing Wollstonecraft, who wrote the Vindictation of the Rights of Women and helped set up a boarding school for girls, to a ‘naked silver barbie doll.
The £143,000 statue was paid for with funds raised by the long-running Mary on the Green campaign, whose patrons included former Labour minister Baronness Shami Chakrabarti and theatre director Jude Kelly.
Ms Hambling defended the piece, saying it was ‘for,’ Wollstonecraft and not ‘of’ her.
She told the Evening Standard: ‘She’s everywoman and clothes would have restricted her.
‘Statues in historic costume look like they belong to history because of their clothes. It’s crucial that she is “now”.
Photos taken by MailOnline on Sunday showed that a Christmas reveller had again covered up the statue, this time with a red cape, which was still there on Tuesday
The statue depicts a nude figure atop what was described as a 10ft-high ‘swirling mingle of female forms’
A day after its unveiling, Dr Julia Long, a ‘radical lesbian feminist activist’ and ‘anti-porn’ advocate from the feminism campaign group Object!, was pictured climbing on the statue and covering it with a black T-shirt with the message ‘Woman – Adult human female’.
‘Woman – adult human female’ is a message used by some feminists to distinguish between women who are born female and transgender women.
Women who use the term have previously been critically branded by transgender activists as ‘TERFs’, which stands for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist’.
So-called TERFs do not consider transgender women to be women and do not want them to have access to female-only spaces such as gender-specific changing rooms.
Object! said it ‘campaigns against the sexual objectification of women and the oppression of women as a sex class.’
It also claimed transgender ideology has a ‘dangerous impact,’ on women and children.
After the tribute to Wollstonecraft was covered with the t-shirt, Object! tweeted: ‘An Adult Human Female was chilly this morning among the cool wokebro luvvies of Newington Green who urged us to love our bodies.
‘Btw we do. We OBJECT to nudity and stereotypes in female statues. We LOVE Mary Woolstonecraft (sic).’
In a separate tweet, it said: ‘Things wrong with this statue: it portrays an adult woman in youth without good reason.
Just a day after its unveiling last month, it was covered up with a black T-shirt by self-declared ‘radical lesbian activist’ Dr Julia Long, who objected to the fact it was naked
‘It shows her NAKED for no good reason in an area where many religious minorities live who are likely to be offended by the nudity.
‘It shows her as stereotypically porn-style ‘attractive’ for no good reason. And yes, I do love my body thank you.
‘It shows her TINY when as a person she was a GIANT among women.
‘It shows her emerging from an unspecified amorphous mass. By the time you get close enough to see the figure you are squinting up this at an angle which foreshortens the already minute figure so you can hardly see it.
‘No quote from her actual writing anywhere to be seen till we added one.’
Speaking to Sky News about the importance of the statue, founder of the Mary on the Green campaign Bee Rowlatt last month defended the monument.
She said: ‘It’s a monument to her and to her ideas, as you can see there’s a huge silvery mass and the idea it to sort of represent solidarity and working together and human rights, universal human rights. Which is what Wollstonecraft fought for all her life.
‘She wouldn’t have wanted to have been on her own on a pedestal on a traditional Victorian statue. I think this statue is exciting because it’s such a break from tradition.
Artist Maggi Hambling defended the piece, saying it was ‘for,’ Wollstonecraft and not ‘of’ her
‘I know not everybody likes it but lots of people do.
‘It’s very easy to have a pop and lots of people have, but if you did a Winston Churchill-style statue of Mary Wollstonecraft that would be kind of inappropriate because that’s not what she was about.
‘She was not a self-promoter, she was not that kind of feminist.
‘She was much more fighting for everybody, it was all about her ideas. She wouldn’t have wanted to be represented in that way and if you read your Wollstonecraft it was much more about what she could do for the oppressed and what she could do for other people.’
Wollstonecraft wrote the seminal 17932 work A Vindication of the Rights of Women.
At the age of just 25, she also created a boarding school for girls, which is now Newington Green School, near the site of the new statue.
Wollstonecraft strongly advocated for women’s rights and argued that the notion they were inferior to men was only apparent because of their lack of education and opportunities.
She was mother to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who wrote the Gothic novel Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus.
Artist Ms Hambling, best known for a sculpture of Oscar Wilde unveiled near Trafalgar Square in 1998, said of her creation: ‘This sculpture encourages a visual conversation with the obstacles Wollstonecraft overcame, the ideals she strived for, and what she made happen.
‘A vital contemporary discourse for all that is still to be achieved.’
Mary Wollstonecraft: The ‘mother of feminism’ and a pioneer of women’s rights and education
Mary Wollstonecraft is widely regarded as the ‘mother of feminism’
Mary Wollstonecraft was born into a prosperous family in Spitalfields, London on 27 April, 1759.
But during her childhood her father, a drunk, squandered the family money. Along with her mother and siblings, she often suffered abuse at his hands.
As a woman, Wollstonecraft received little formal schooling but she set out to educate herself.
In order to make a living, Wollstonecraft and her sisters joined family friend Frances Blood to set up a girls’ school together in Newington Green.
In 1788, she became a translator and an adviser to Joseph Johnson, a noted publisher of radical texts.
At age 33, Wollstonecraft wrote the ground-breaking treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).
The book set out her abhorrence of the notion that women are inferior and that they only exist to serve the domestic needs of a household.
Wollstonecraft’s ground-breaking and most famous work was published in 1792
She proposed that this was only the case because women were given an inferior education and put forward the idea of reform.
Wollstonecraft called for men and women to be given the same access and opportunities for education – a notion that was truly revolutionary at the time and caused tremendous controversy.
She mixed with the intellectual radicals of the day – debating with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Joseph Priestley and went on to write Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman – a work which argues that women have strong sexual desires and that it is immoral to suggest otherwise.
Wollstonecraft died aged just 38 just days after giving birth to her second daughter Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who went on to write the Gothic novel Frankenstein as well as Mathilda.
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