By John Ensor •
Published: 06 Nov 2023 • 23:28
Iconic statue of Molly Malone.
DUBLIN’S famous Molly Malone statue is in the news this week after the sculpture has been the focus of female activists.
On Friday, November 3, the community initiative Empower Her Voice caught the public’s attention by chalking poignant messages at the base of the famous Molly Malone statue. This act of protest was sparked by the casual, demeaning remark of a passerby overheard by the group’s Dublin director, Esme Dunne, on Suffolk Street, according to Dublin Live.
She spoke to Irish media: ‘Myself and our fundraising officer were sitting beside Molly Malone when a man walked by and said “she’s not as pretty as I thought she’d be.” It really infuriated us and after speaking to the rest of our team we decided to put the chalk up.’
This isn’t the first time that incidents involving the statue have made waves. Molly has been subject to vandalism and recently, the tradition of rubbing the statue’s breasts for good luck was brought to the mainstream’s attention by Irish singer Imelda May.
The slogans ‘Don’t Touch Me’ and ‘Groping Isn’t Good Luck’ emerged at dawn to escape the early street cleaning. The choice of chalk, a minimal impact medium, contrasts with more damaging acts involving spray paint, underscoring the group’s message.
‘We got a few comments from men asking what all the fuss was about, that it’s only a statue, and we feel they were missing the point. This is a cultural landmark and people shouldn’t be groping it. We are not damaging the statue to the same degree as the people who are touching her up,’ Esme argued.
Empower Her Voice opted for chalk for its temporary nature, aligning with their commitment to peaceful advocacy. ‘I agree that spray paint would be vandalism but chalk washes away with water, it’s harmless. This was a non-invasive way to highlight the issue and get people talking,’ said Esme, reinforcing the group’s stance on non-destructive protest methods.
In addition to public demonstrations, the group fosters creativity through art classes and exhibitions in Dublin, aiding Women’s Aid. The workshops provide a reflective space for women and individuals of marginalised genders to artistically express their perspectives, challenging traditional male-dominated portrayals.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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