The Times Square Kiss, and Feminist Blogs’ Fanatic Crime Against Joy

The blog posts at issue make me angry. Usually it is silly to be angry about mere opinions, I know. However, the opinion registered by “Lori” on the blog Feministing, taking her cue from another feminist blogger, is a symptom, a symptom of the scourge of pernicious, political-correctness zealots, who refuse to recognize the important distinctions between malice and human beings being human, and seek to wipe out that distinction by distortion, sophistry, historical revisionism and bullying.

The bloggers’ target is an iconic photograph from the heart of American history: LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s shot of an American sailor kissing a nurse on August 14, 1945, in a moment of jubilation on Victory over Japan Day in the heart of New York City. Ah, but all is not as innocent and blissful as it would appear. Some historians think they have finally confirmed the identities of the mysterious couple (the photographer never identified his subjects) as Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental nurse at the time, and George Mendonsa, a sailor. [Despite the assertions of the bloggers and the historians, we can never know for sure. There were apparently many similar pairings that day, and several couples have credibly claimed to be those kissing through the decades.] Greta was recently interviewed, and noted that that she was just grabbed by a sailor she didn’t know and kissed. “That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me,” Greta told interviewers.

Ah HA! declare the feminist bloggers. Don’t you see, you addled, male-culture dominated, female-subjugating fools? This wasn’t a pure expression of joy in the long-awaited  end of a world conflict that had killed millions and laid waste to much of the planet! Oh, no! The famous photo was something dark and sinister:

  • “…a depiction of sexual assault.” (“Crates and Ribbons”)
  • “stomach-turning…” (“Feministing”)
  • an embodiment of “rape culture” (“Crates and Ribbons”)
  • …A closer look at the image in question shows corroborating details that become stomach-turning when properly viewed: the smirks on the faces of the sailors in the background; the firm grasp around the physically smaller woman in his arms such that she could not escape if she tried; the woman’s clenched fist and limp body” (“Feministing”)

These willful distortions to make cheap claims of ongoing cultural persecution are beneath contempt, a product of ideology gone mad combined with ignorance of history and human nature. To state the obvious, the end of the worst armed conflict the world had ever known and the defeat of the racist, genocidal monstrosity known as the Axis was not a typical day. I have written before here about ethics incompleteness, how even the most valid of rules sometimes fail to apply because of unusual, unique or unanticipated circumstances. This was, of course, one of them.

“Lori” (astoundingly) writes, “I’d like to hope that kissing a stranger on the street without consent in today’s world would raise at least some red flags if not garner the proper prosecution it deserves.” Uh, yes, Lori, in fact kissing a woman on the street without her consent on any other day in 1945 would have earned an arrest, or possibly a thrashing from the many gentlemen on hand. You will note, if you watch 1946’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” that when George Bailey grabs his alternate present wife in the street in a mere hug, the police not only try to arrest him, but shoot at him. Grabbing a woman and kissing her without her consent was criminal battery (not necessarily assault) many years before VJ Day, and is civil and criminal battery today.

I guess neither Lori nor her British counterpart, who apparently goes under the online monicker of “Leopard,” have had the experience of being in a large group of people when something wonderful that touches all of them occurs. I have, a few times. I experienced this in Boston, outside Fenway Park, when Carlton Fisk sent us all home with his famous 12th inning home run off the foul pole, to keep the Red Sox alive in the 1975 World Series. Everybody was spontaneously hugging and kissing and dancing with everybody. A young woman I had never seen before and never would again ran up to me and kissed me on the lips, yelled “PUDGE!!!” (Fisk’s nickname), and ran into the chaos. Sexual assault? Rape culture?

I was also with my Dad when they dedicated the World War Two Memorial on the National Mall, and invited living veterans of the war, like him, to be the honored guests. I saw old men spontaneously spin strangers around and give them bear hugs, pats and kisses—technically battery, every one. I saw one honoree kiss a survivor of the Bataan Death March spontaneously on the cheek, as he wept. Sexual assault?

There are times in our lives, if we are fortunate, when our hearts are so filled with joy, and we so want to share it, that inhibitions and social customs break down, and all that matters is two human beings, feeling the same thing. There was nothing sexual in that sailor’s kiss, or aggressive, or malign, or anything but an expression of pure joy that comes only once in a lifetime, if that. And while the moment may have been involuntary for Greta, it was not unpleasant, because she understood…she felt the same way. She wouldn’t have traded that moment for anything, and, obviously, she remembered it for the rest of her life, a moment that didn’t stand for the imposition of a “rape culture” on her life, but instead was the climax of a joyful day, the day the world was finally at peace.

What is the matter with people like “Leopard” and Lori, that they feel compelled to re-cast in ugliness a beautiful image that perfectly symbolizes that elusive slice out of time when we were all brothers, sisters, citizens and lovers, when all the other petty differences that divide us meant nothing at all? Perhaps what is the matter with them is that their own existence is centered in warfare, in their cases, a gender battle that depends on framing men as villains and women as victims at every opportunity. If turning a photograph that has given millions of people a thrill and exhileration, and helped them understand a cultural touchpoint that is fast fading from memory into a mere “symbol for how messed up our ideas about sex and romance are” [ “Feministing”], well, so be it. Never mind that such an interpretation is cynical, warped, historically ignorant nonsense.

“Look! That elderly woman in the background is “smirking” too! You see, children, back in those evil, perverted, woman-abusing days, women were brainwashed into liking rape!”

“Leopard,” in a subsequent post, attempted to counter some other objections to her theory, and did so badly, but revealingly.  Some excerpts:

“Misconception #1: ‘That kiss happened in a different time! How can you judge him using modern values?’
The purpose of my original post was not to demonize George or to recommend that he be packed off to prison. A user on Reddit …gave a succinct response to someone who had Misconception #1. I’ll post it here: “You’re…completely missing the point. The point isn’t that it happened. The point is that there’s three modern articles discussing the picture, all of which basically quote the woman in the picture as stating that it was sexual assault, and in none of the articles does the editorial voice acknowledge that that’s fucked up.”

Except that it wasn’t and isn’t sexual assault, because 1) it wasn’t sexual, 2) Greta knew it at the time, and 3) while she didn’t give prior consent, she didn’t object or feel she had been harmed. Under those circumstances today George wouldn’t have been charged with sexual assault. And the “different time” isn’t “the Forties” but rather “the day World War II ended, and people knew the United States and civilization was safe, and they weren’t going to die”—and nothing else compares to it. At that time, on that day, context is everything. Greta knew it then, and knows it now, and neither she, nor George, nor the kiss were “fucked up.”

Those who criticize it now, however, are.

“Misconception #2: ‘Greta herself doesn’t call it a violation and actually seems alright with it. So your argument is invalid.’

“Indeed, in an interview given to Patricia Redmond, Greta does not seem traumatised by the kiss, and describes the fame that resulted from the photo in a positive manner. However, I do think it’s worth taking into account that, even in today’s society, there is a lot of pressure on women to smile and get along, to ‘let boys be boys,’ to accept unwanted sexual contact like groping or kissing, and not to make a big deal out of it. Many of the comments have confirmed this, with gems like, “It’s just a kiss, get over it,” and how women should “stop whining” about such matters. In Greta’s case, the pressure would undoubtedly be much higher. But one thing Greta consistently asserts is that the kiss was sudden, that she was grabbed before she even became aware of his presence. Her remarks about his strength and “vice grip [sic]” don’t sound like the words of someone who had enjoyed the kiss. The fact is, consent was not given, and her feelings about it afterwards don’t change the nature of what George did. To give an extreme example, if you were to kidnap and torture someone, only to find out later that you’d just fulfilled their deepest fantasy, does that make you less culpable?

What an insult to Greta for this clueless fanatic to presume that she didn’t understand exactly and completely what “Leopard’s” tunnel-vision and feminist anger causes the blogger to miss! Greta was there, she had lived through the war; she knew what the sailor was feeling, because she knew that she and everyone around her, indeed everyone in the world were feeling the same way….and it was joyful, and human, and good. This wasn’t date rape, or President Clinton pressuring a lowly intern for a hummer, and everyone whose brain hasn’t been addled by militant feminist orthodoxy instinctively knows it. For “Leopard” to compare the Times Square kiss to kidnap and torture demonstrates how completely unhinged from reality her perception is.

You can read the rest if you have the stomach for it. I’ve had enough.

The internet meme that properly responds to destructive posts like those on “Feministing” and “Crates and Ribbons” is “This is why we can’t have nice things.” There are people among us whose mission in life is to suck all the joy out of it for everyone else, by casting all that is inspiring and good as something that is really ugly, ominous, and wrong. I remember a beautiful spring day when I was in college. My room mates commented on it, which was unusual: they were hardly sentimentalists. Even though exams loomed, we felt happy to be alive. Then a member of some environmentalist group on campus knocked on the door, and tried to get us to sign a petition to make the university divest itself of oil stock.I was about to sign it, too.

“Do you realize,” he said, “that the sky today is only 78% as blue as it would have been two hundred years ago, because of auto pollution?” One of my room mates, David Niemiec, 6’5″, grabbed the petition and thrust it into the student’s hand, saying, “Get the hell out. We were enjoying that sky until you came along.” And he pushed the petitioner out the door.

Thanks, Dave.

I appreciate that more than ever now.

_____________________________________

Pointer: Daily Mail

Sources:

24 thoughts on “The Times Square Kiss, and Feminist Blogs’ Fanatic Crime Against Joy

  1. Actually, I prefer the story of the sailor grabbing the unsuspecting nurse better than the version I have heard that the whole photo was staged. I’ve always loved the photo; this confirmation just makes it better.

  2. The turn of her leg and the fact that she’s not cracking him with her unencumbered arm, is a clue that Inspector Clousseau in the Pink Panther could have a field day with!

  3. “There are times in our lives, if we are fortunate, when our hearts are so filled with joy, and we so want to share it, that inhibitions and social customs break down, and all that matters is two human beings, feeling the same thing.”

    I disagree with that. It seems to me that grabbing a stranger in the street to plant one on is all about the sailor and his expression of his joy. Greta may have had another way to express hers. Two human beings often feel the same way and express it differently. While I doubt that the sailor had any evil intention, I do not think it is OK for him to express his own joy by accosting random strangers whether the day was typical or not.

    While I agree that many of the comments you quote were willful distortions, I think your relegation of it to blissful, innocent and pure expression of joy only applies to George. While there was no link to Gretas full interview, I think Gretas comments quoted… that the man was strong and I was not kissing him… is saying something. Something not quite completely comfortable for Greta. While Greta may not have felt violated and may have understood how George was feeling, I do not see anything in her comments that lead me to believe she was blissful or joyful about the kiss specifically. It seems to me, you are doing the same thing all the radical feminists you point to are doing only in the opposite direction.

    Why does it have to be one or the other when it falls somewhere in between. Why do we have to assign bliss and joy to Greta that is perhaps not present anymore than the anger and violation the other group is trying to assign. Greta could have been very happy with the events of the day and not so happy with the kiss from a stranger. That is possible.

    And were you actually that self-absorbed in college! If actual scientific facts suck all the joy out of your days, you are in for a rough ride ahead.

    • Back off. The self-absorbed one was the jerk who wanted to turn a nice day into environmentalist propaganda. I can spew depressing facts (if indeed that was a fact—I’ve never found a valid source that confirmed it, and suspect its just a fake stat made up by activists, like claiming that 83% of all women are sexually assaulted. Who cares what shade of blue the sky was? Virginia was unbelievably beautiful, with old growth forests instead of roads and buildings, before people started raising families here. Don’t tell me that I should only look at where I live from the standpoint that it once was better, and what we have now is inferior. What kind of jerk keeps doing that? It’s also beautiful NOW…) to bring you down all day. You’re not self-absorbed to say, “take your gloom somewhere else. I have to live.”

      The question at hand was whether the photo depicts sexual assault, and should be viewed that way. The answer is NO. The photo depicts the joy of VJ Day. If you want to try to read Greta’s mind—60 years after the fact—to claim that she wished it hadn’t happened, be my guest. Since it wasn’t sexual assault, the framework IS the 1940’s, (as well as a unique event that suspends some rules) and what she experienced was a scene right out of the romantic movies of the period. My assumption that she regarded it in that light is a lot more plausible than your theory that she was thinking, “Yuck, pooii, how dare he?”

      • I wasn’t reading her mind. I was reading her words. I thought I was clear in stating that her emotions could have been one way or the other, but not likely as extreme as postulated in either direction.You are reading her mind. I think my assumption is more plausible and just because you state yours is, doesn’t make it so anymore than that works for my pov. Saying it louder, or repeatedly doesn’t give it more weight (did we learn nothing from the potheads). You think she was over the moon happy about the kiss from the stranger, I get it. I don’t agree. I think she was caught in an uncomfortable moment. I am basing that on the women of her age in my life and my interpretation of her quoted words. Unless her full interview expresses her actual emotion at the event, we are both just interpreting the still photo and we could both be wrong. The feminists could be right. How the hell would I know? That was my point. We don’t know so why assume her emotion was over the top in either direction? No reason other than to boulster our arguement which is what I think both the feminists and you did – assign strong emotion to boulster your pov. Any emotion assigned to Greta by anyone but Greta, including me, is completely irrelevant and only serves as extraneous conversation.

        But that wasn’t even really my issue because it was all just a guessing game. My issue was that I do not agree that the emotions of the day, or the desire to share joy, justifies the suspending of civility. If he wouldn’t grab a stranger in the street to kiss without guilt on every day, he shouldn’t be doing it on any day.

        Back off what? You put a comment in your post that you didn’t want comment back on? Why would you do that? It’s a blog you are asking for comment on. Maybe you should highlight those pieces that you don’t want comment on in another colour or something. You don’t have to spew depressing facts all day or not enjoy the moment to be a realist who isn’t self-absorbed. You do have to stop using phrases like environmentalist propoganda.

        Bottom line is, I doubt there are many people out there that spend all their time looking to suck the joy out of your life. That concept is either a paranoid delusion or an excuse to be miserable.

        • Danielle, the people in Times Square in 1945, like the people outside Fenway Park in 1975, were not on walks for their health. It was a celebration. The people out there were celebrating. Celebrating the end of a horrible war in which millions of people, including relatives and friends, had died. Celebration means 1. To observe (a day or event) with ceremonies of respect, festivity, or rejoicing. It isn’t reading someone’s mind to assume that if they are celebrating, they are in a celebratory mood, and according other celebrants the assumption that what they are doing is also celebratory.

          I don’t believe (many) people realize that they are sucking the joy out of life. I know that this is what many people do, especially those whose view of life is that we we are all victims, that every child is in danger of being molested, that every human advancement has unacceptable side effects, that the food we enjoy eating is bad for us, that America is a blight on the world, that free speech is a form of brutality, and that a spontaneous kiss on one of the happiest days in world history should be regarded as proof of a rape culture.

          • Jack, the people of Mogadishu were celebrating when they dragged the dead US soldier through their streets as well. That doesn’t make it right or any less horrifying even if they felt their cause for celebration was just. The celebration does not excuse the behavior. I am not saying this is anything close to that but the basic premise that you keep repeating – that the day itself, by virtue of the celebratory nature, suspends rules – is the same. While the ‘anything goes in grand celebration’ line of reasoning is something some wayward Vancouver hockey fans will appreciate, I find it hard to believe that you can’t allow for even the slightest possibility that the kiss was not a welcome celebration for Greta. Because if you really can’t, then you are saying exactly what one blogger said, “it is just a kiss”. Or, get over it Greta. Again, I am not saying this is how Greta felt. I am saying regardless of how Greta felt, celebration does not suspend rules. If we let it, it means Greta has no choice about how she feels about the strangers kiss. You are saying that as long as the majority of us agree with the reason for the celebration, everyone participating has to just put up with whatever happens and not ruin the celebration, or in this case, the iconization of the celebration.

            Oustide a few extreme circumstances I can think of, people can only suck the joy out of your life if you let them. I find your confidence in understanding Greta’s feelings and actions, right down to why she was on the street, as baffling as I find your characterization of a student who is spending his beautiful day knocking on dorm doors to drum up support for a cause he believes in as self-absorbed.

            When people pour into the streets for any reason, they are pouring on top of the people who were already there for one reason or another. For all you know, Greta was a girl that made a purity pledge at her local father-daughter ball and was just walking to work in her uniform when she was grabbed by George. See, we can speculate in any direction we like. That is the beauty of speculation, no basis in reality is required. Obviously, how Greta actually felt is irrelevant to all the people talking about it today. It only matters that Greta must have felt exactly the way we wanted her to feel.

            The kiss then was all about George and the conversation now is all about us. Greta never had a chance.

            • I’m saying THAT day suspended the legal and ethical rules, “don’t treat strangers with intimacy,” and “don’t touch me without permission,” which is the same, by the way, for men and women. (I can’t imagine what the Somalia reference has to do with anything. But it they were joyfully dragging dead soldiers through the streets, was someone overcome with dragging joj kissing a fellow dragger sexually assaulting her? NO.)

              You are over-reaching a valid point, which is that people can’t ruin your day unless you let them—yes, largely true. But scare-mongers, kill-joys, angry and bitter people and those who find the world, and the US in particular, mean and miserable do exist, they are vocal, and they do make the blue skies gray.

              • The section I cherry picked to copy in my first comment would seem to suggest that you were not speaking about just THAT day but rather, any day where you, “are fortunate, when our hearts are so filled with joy, and we so want to share it, that inhibitions and social customs break down”.

                There are lots of things making the blue skies gray. All of them more important than vocal people.

                • And that’s what’s wrong with cherry-picking. This statement could hardly have been more definitive on the issue of how unusual this particular celebration was:

                  “To state the obvious, the end of the worst armed conflict the world had ever known and the defeat of the racist, genocidal monstrosity known as the Axis was not a typical day. I have written before here about ethics incompleteness, how even the most valid of rules sometimes fail to apply because of unusual, unique or unanticipated circumstances. This was, of course, one of them.” Or this, a bit later on: “..the “different time” isn’t “the Forties” but rather “the day World War II ended, and people knew the United States and civilization was safe, and they weren’t going to die”—and nothing else compares to it. At that time, on that day, context is everything.”

                  Frankly, I can’t think of many other situations—any in fact—when I would look on a full-on kiss like this with a stranger as appropriate rather than actionable. Of course it is a violation of the woman’s autonomy and physical body. I believe this–maybe an airplane that you thought would crash and that lands instead—is one time the woman would be understanding, and fairly so, if not, as is very possible, entirely in the moment.

  4. Much ado about nothing. Feminism is by definition a chauvinistic and sexist
    movement. It requires the replacement of normal thought processes with weapons-grade-bias-thickened glasses available in any color…so long as it’s pink.

    Could the rehashing of an event over a half a century passed to make a tired point be any more nonproductive? Apparently not to the ever-vigilant whose sole aim is to extract every last drop of guilt it might squeeze out for, you know, the cause.

    One might opine that the treatment of females on a global scale must be currently going so swimmingly that keepers of the movement must look back to conjure up any relevence whatsoever. Or it’s merely benign neglect. More likely, a clueless gutlessness.

    Perhaps the perpetually offended might take a look at what’s going on in Northern Africa, or the Middle & Far East. Genital mutilation, forced teenage (& younger!) marriage, rape. Howse about the mobility (literally) of females in countries controlled by Islam, the Religion of Peace; education, motor vehicle operation, access to medical care, honor killings, beatings, murder?

    The post-modern feminist weighs her faux-outrage by cost/benefit analysis against the actual effort and danger involved with righting what’s wrong. Anyone with any genuine concern for the condition of females everywhere would be beating a drum to address what’s a bona fide tragedy right now.

    Instead, we have bored phonies trumping up ancient history and trying to make it Herstory. They talk the talk, but will never walk the walk. It reminds me of when Che was captured 45 years ago and telling his captors he was worth more to them alive than dead. True unadulterated cowardice! The saddest part? they don’t even realize it.

  5. Excellent post. I regret you went to such lengths explaining how crazy the critics of this photo are–you had most reasonable people at hello. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman in Washington during the mid-90’s. This was a woman with an undergraduate and graduate degree from Ivy League universities. One of her claims was that women didn’t start enjoying sex until the sexual revolution of the 1970s. I’ll put that one aside for now. More outrageous to me was her claim that women didn’t work outside the home until after WWII. It didn’t take but a second to disabuse her of these fantasies but it underscores that people like this, including the women on the blog you site, have a bizarre notion that life on Earth and throughout the millennia was a black-and-white episode of Leave it to Beaver until the 60s came along. And even if they want to say this was the white, middle-class norm (which it wasnt) it says a lot about what reality counts in their minds. It’s like they are reducing all the world’s complex and variegated phenomena to fit into a ongoing debate they are having with powerful Western heterosexual men.

  6. The adage is that a picture is worth 1,000 words. I accept a corollary of that, namely, that one image can enable an infinite number of lies. I have long retained memory of the kiss-in-Times-Square photo by associating it with an imagined headline: War Ends; Baby Boom Begins.

    Well, I’ve said before that I am a feminist – and I am, to the extent that I would be ashamed of myself, if I did not share some agreement with the feminists who have provoked Jack in this case. It is OK with me for complete strangers in a large public celebration to express some – SOME – affection, and to touch – SOME. But, if the two persons in that kiss photo were in fact complete strangers, then NO: I am not OK with that kind of touching and affection, regardless of the intensity of feelings that may have been justified by the significance of the moment.

    I do believe I understand some of Jack’s annoyance, because I am also a sworn enemy of pathological pettiness, and that affliction could very easily underlie and compel some feminists’ interpretations of, and responses to, the Times Square kiss. More recently, there are cartoons, and a movie trailer (perhaps I am abusing those descriptors), which have been interpreted and responded to by certain purported adherents of a certain religion, in extrablogospheric ways. I don’t mean to be making a “there are worse things” rationalization, using reference to self-appointed avengers of blasphemy (who unsurprisingly, also have shown marked inability to grasp basic concepts of feminism). But I cannot fault and simply irritably dismiss rational “conservatism” toward persons’ physical interactions, which respects persons’ spans of control over their own bodies. (The lady who kicked me in the seat of my pants years ago, because she didn’t like my protest sign, will never know how lucky she was to breathe another hour.)

    Perhaps the cited feminist bloggers who commented on the Times Square kiss have also already commented on a famous “protest against Putin” video (from Russia) – which, despite all its ostensible underlying altruism, “prior consent” claim, and pseudo-ethical “don’t-do-this-just-anytime” caution, makes me want to kick the guy’s (and his video-recording partner’s) ’nads through the tops of their skulls – and not out of envy, but to “celebrate” my feminism:

  7. “Jack, the people of Mogadishu were celebrating when they dragged the dead US soldier through their streets as well. ”

    Jesus….

    I think feminism is about squashing any and ALL enjoyment men and women can have with each other…

    • “I think feminism is about squashing any and ALL enjoyment men and women can have with each other.”

      I think some of the pettiness of some feminists does tend to squash unnecessarily some of the enjoyment men and women can (and ought to be free to) feel and have with each other.

      But I also think some of the enjoyment that some people do not want squashed is incivility that does not deserve the rarest occasional tolerance.

      I think the photo of the Times Square kiss has instructive potential for all, regardless of any truth the image captures or calls to mind, and regardless of any falsehood or deception that may surround it or be associated with it.

  8. I couldn’t get through your post. It’s horrible from the get go.

    This though, stands out to me: “These willful distortions to make cheap claims of ongoing cultural persecution are beneath contempt, a product of ideology gone mad combined with ignorance of history and human nature. ”

    There are no distortions about this photo. If it’s the woman in question, then it would be an assault. Yes, the man is jubilant, and trying to show his jubilance, but that does not mean his actions were okay. If behavior is mutual, it’s fine, but it has to be mutual. You have been in situations where you were okay with various behavior. That doesn’t mean everyone else is. This was a sexual assault. And your rationalizations don’t change that.

    What makes me sick here is how you are arguing. You are lying about the feminists claims to make them seem irrational.

    • They are irrational.

      You, like them, are denying the context for both the man and the woman. Even in regard to sexual harassment, if such a kiss were “welcome,’ then it would not be harassment, much less sexual assault. There is no indication it was unwelcome, just manufactured supposition to support a nasty agenda-driven indictment of a unique and entirely positive event. Nobody regarded it as assault then; nobody (rational) does now, and it has absolutely zip to do with “rape culture.”

      In other words, you’re all wet.

      • . There is no indication it was unwelcome,

        You’re writing this as a poe, right?

        “It wasn’t my choice to be kissed… ”

        “That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me,”

        Her clenched fist and the the lock held on her head corroborate that information.

        —-

        You are actually displaying the complained about problem very well. You are suggesting that it’s okay for men to kiss random women. You are saying that any disagreement must be the result of uppity feminists. You are saying that this is how the world is supposed to be.

        That’s exactly what is being complained about here. The photograph shows Joy, but we now know it also shows that joy being improperly expressed. It would be appropriate to note that. You want to keep your idyllic picture, even if it’s not accurate. That’s where you’re falling into trouble. Trying to rationalize away all impropriety.

        • There is NO indication it was unwelcome. True.
          The clenched fist is 100% ambiguous.
          I am not suggesting that it’s okay for men to kiss random women, and my post could not have been more clear on that point. I am saying that at that unique moment, on that unique time, it was Ok for that man to kiss that woman, if she didn’t object. And saying he was strong and that he was the kisser rather than the kissee does not suggest that she did.
          Sometimes, bets are off, rules are suspended. If you are arguing that there are not such times, I accept that position as reasonable, though I disagree. If you are just saying that VJ Day wasn’t such a time, THAT’S ridiculous.

          • The clenched fist and headlock, which you ignored, were corroboration to that actual words of the person involved, which you also ignored, despite quoting.

            am not suggesting that it’s okay for men to kiss random women, and my post could not have been more clear on that point. I am saying that at that unique moment, on that unique time, it was Ok for that man to kiss that woman, if she didn’t object.

            You know what, feminists would say that at any moment and at any time a consensual kiss is perfectly fine. The difference seems to be that you place the onus on the woman to object… that the man shouldn’t have to follow basic norms to figure out if it would be okay or not.

            And saying he was strong and that he was the kisser rather than the kissee does not suggest that she did.

            It absolutely says that she did not reciprocate or welcome the contact. Nonreciprocation of a kiss is evidence it was unwanted.

            Sometimes, bets are off, rules are suspended. If you are arguing that there are not such times, I accept that position as reasonable, though I disagree. If you are just saying that VJ Day wasn’t such a time, THAT’S ridiculous.

            I’m absolutely saying that there is no time when it is appropriate to do kiss an unwilling partner. That you have carved out this exception shows that you don’t actually care about mutual consent.

  9. I have to admit I never liked this photo much. Without ever reading any of the feminist’s blog, I always thought that the nurse was strangely disengaged during the kiss…
    And that the force of the sailor’s kiss actually leads her chin to form a double is kinda off-putting to me, because it indicates her trying to move her mouth out of reach.
    As famous kissing photos go it totally loses to “The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville” by Doisneau (which is staged, of course, but still…)

    Anyhoo, the only thing I find off-putting is that those feminists don’t have anything more important going on than doing a Cold Case on this old clipping.

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