There have long been complaints about the lack of women in the tech industry. Now there's a towering female figure, in a tech park across the bay from San Francisco, although not quite what some people had in mind. A 55-foot-tall statue of a nude woman unveiled this week in the community of San Leandro is stirring controversy and a lot of conversation, the AP reports. At the base of the 13,000-pound statue is a message in 10 languages that says: "What would the world be like if women were safe?" The statue—roughly three times as tall as Michelangelo's David—is made of steel mesh in the form of a graceful dancer, with an arched back and arms stretched overhead. The debate, however, is not over its artistic merit—it's over whether it's appropriate in public.
The Truth Is Beauty statue by sculptor Marco Cochrane is on private property at the edge of a new tech office complex, in a highly trafficked area just across from San Leandro's commuter rail station. Cochrane says he was marked as a child by the rape of a neighborhood friend and tries through art to bring attention to sexual assault, and to both the fear and strength many women feel. Not everyone shares his views on the statue, now attracting selfie-seekers. "If she's a ballerina, she should have some clothes on," says a local mom. But others have welcomed the statue as a reflection of the changing demographics in San Leandro, where millennials now outnumber older residents. "It's edgy and modern, and it makes me proud," says Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter.