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Controversial nude statue of feminist icon Mary Wollstonecraft covered up with anti-trans slogan t-shirt

Lily Wakefield November 11, 2020
Julia Long drapes an anti- trans t-shirt on the new Mary Wollstonecraft statue

Julia Long drapes an anti-trans "adult human female" t-shirt on the new Mary Wollstonecraft statue. (HazelTarragon/ Twitter)

A Mary Wollstonecraft statue showing the “foremother of feminism” completely naked has been covered up with an anti-trans slogan t-shirt.

The statue, unveiled Tuesday (November 10) on Newington Green in North London, was created by lesbian artist Maggi Hambling and takes the form of a tiny, naked silver figure emerging from a plinth of swirling body parts.

The artist’s decision to use a nude figure has caused debate and confusion, with many pointing out that male historical figures are not usually celebrated with naked statues.

Anti-trans activists have decided that the solution is to cover the statue with a t-shirt bearing one of their most well-worn slogans.

In photos posted on social media, anti-trans campaigner Julia Long can be seen draping the statue in a top that reads “adult human female”.

Christine Burns, the retired activist awarded the MBE for her work representing the trans community, wrote on Twitter: “Oh dear. The grownups are having serious words right now about the naked Mary Wollstonecraft thing.

“Hooray for covering bits of it to focus minds about cis men’s naked women obsession. But some monomaniacs see it only as a way to push anti-trans dog whistle merchandise.”

Campaign group Object, which believes trans people are “dangerous” and that gender affirmation surgery constitutes “self-harm”, has taken responsibility for the stunt.

It wrote on its website: “Mary Woolstonecraft [sic] an adult human female naked in the early morning London chill needed a t-shirt to warm her up. We OBJECT to stereotypes and gratuitous nudity in female statues.”

The irony of groups who believe that womanhood is purely based on anatomy covering up a naked statue of a woman because of “stereotypes” was not lost on Twitter.

Writer Mollie Goodfellow wrote: “Apparently they’ve put an adult human female t-shirt on the Mary Wollstonecraft statue if you thought it couldn’t get more embarrassing.”

Oh great, now the TERFs are putting ‘adult human female’ t-shirts on Mary Wollstonecraft’s statue,” said another. 

“Honestly, the irony.”

Hambling, who has previously faced criticism for making jokes about slavery, has said that critics of her statue have “missed the point”. 

She said the statue was “for” rather than “of” Mary Wollstonecraft and said: “The point is that she has to be naked because clothes define people. We all know that clothes are limiting and she is everywoman.”

She bizarrely added: “As far as I know, she’s more or less the shape we’d all like to be.”

More: adult human female, anti-trans, Julia Long, Mary Wollstonecraft, Object

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