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crtclms

V-Day Times Square kiss, was it a sexual assault?

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I thought this was a really interesting article about our collective refusal to listen to the nurse's take on the event. I know I will never look at this photo the same way, now all I can see is a frightened woman.

Legendary_kiss_V%E2%80%93J_day_in_Times_Square_Alfred_Eisenstaedt.jpg

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....and the photographer should be prosecuted for invasion of privacy, voyeurism and abetting a kissing crime.

Everyone in that photo is probably dead, yet unchecked man-hating feminism can find an issue to get worked up over. *shakes head*

Just for the record: This photo has run countless times in the last 60 years. The nurse was identified in the 1970's as I recall. She was interviewed and mentioned the sailor grabbed her and kissed her unexpectedly. Ahem. There is nothing new or "hidden" about this information.

Lots of servicemen took some liberties. Some women enjoyed it, some participated enthusiatstically, some probably didn't. Compare with films of the liberation of Paris, Netherlands, Denmark, etc. Lots of kissing, etc. In the parlance of the time they were considered to be 'blowing off steam'. I'm sure that passersby or the police would aid any woman being molested.

In any case I would never consider this a sexual assault. It's a kiss. Certainly the nurse didn't.

Edited by AirMarshall

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Interesting. I have seen that picture in print and on TV many times. I'd always thought they knew each other because of the smiling faces behind them -- except her contorted body made me wonder just a bit.

Consider, however, the "rape" - if you will -- of people's minds by war. What might this sailor have seen and endured?

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I am in agreement with AirMarshall on this one. This is not exactly the Rape of Nanking.

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I don't think that there really is some scale of sexual assault where if it doesn't look bad enough, it doesn't count. If someone did that to me today I would certainly consider it sexual assault.

What's surprising is not that the information is new, but that it is old and nobody seems to care.

And I am not convinced that police and passersby are all so good at aiding victims of sexual assault.

I don't think that the intent is to be "man hating", I think it is simply to draw attention to how much sexual assault is intertwined with our culture.

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I always just assumed that he asked the woman if he could kiss her first (but I guess I'm one of the weirdos who didn't think that they were a couple). Unpleasant details are often overlooked/minimized when something is otherwise great, and this picture is no different. I think the man was well-intentioned and caught up in the elation of the day, though I can see where the article is coming from as well. Hindsight is 20/20.

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I don't think that the intent is to be "man hating", I think it is simply to draw attention to how much sexual assault is intertwined with our culture.

Point made and understood. This is, after all, one of the iconic pictures of Americana.

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I envision the 2012 version would something like this....

The nurse would be drunk with a big plastic cup full of purple punch. She would pull up her blouse for the viewing pleasure of the sailor and camera man. Then she might turn about and flip her skirt exposing her cheeks and thong underwear. Satisfied with her performance she would stagger off down the street. Compare to Mardi Gras or any major drunk-ex around the nation.

Now that's progress for women!

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I don't see where the man hating is coming from. Apparently you disagree with the actions of one man and you're a man hater.

And a soldier coming home from war does not have permission to assault women, no matter what he's been through.

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AirMarshall, I'd love to discuss the "decline" of civilization with you sometime. In a friendly way. Some shared thoughts, some very divergent is what I imagine.

And a soldier coming home from war does not have permission to assault women, no matter what he's been through.

Agreed. Don't send the soldier off to war.

Except, if we don't send him off to war we don't stop Hitler and brutal expansionism in Asia. Now there's a conundrum.

But, no, I am not trying to excuse the sailor.

Edited by Will

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A stranger grabbing a woman and kissing her on the street is sexual assault. Straight up. There are no cultural or experiential excuses that make this okay. It is not "man-hating" to deplore an act that physically and sexually violates a woman, regardless of the perpetrator. The additional public humiliation and silence surrounding this woman's experience is an additional transgression of personal boundaries and denigration of her experience.

Air Marshall, I can't tell if you're trying to be ironic or parodic, or if you are serious. I was sexually assaulted and abused by my mother daily. Photos were taken and shared with others. It was mother-daughter sexual abuse. Does it make me a man-hating feminist to call it sexual assault? Or is a boundary a boundary, no matter what?

AM, if a man grabbed you on the street and kissed you without your consent, and the photo became a memorialization and iconic representation of some event, would you feel assaulted? Humiliated?

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I had a guy grab me and kiss me once at a concert in Austin. I was kinda drunk at the time. I ended up "cooperating" but I remember how it felt at first...like I was being suffocated. I did a lot of sexual acting out back then so I remember pushing him away and he wouldn't let go so I just kissed him back.

I also had a girl grab me and kiss me in a gay club. When she pulled away, she said, "Sorry! I'm on ecstasy, I just had to kiss you!"

It's nothing like what Antigone's story is but I'm no stranger to assault that nobody else would consider assault. Mostly because I always just gave in.

Edited by Teddy

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Sure it's illegal, but it makes for some great television, right? Or something.

I get really tired of people calling women "man haters" if they ever criticize any aspect of male behavior. And I have noticed we get called this especially -and not in spite of- when there is some sort of assault involved. Men do not hesitate to criticize women as a class for countless reasons, and very few of them get called on it at all, let alone called misogynistic.

And I'm shocked that there is an implicit agreement among some people that men who have been in combat have some kind of Droit du Seigneur.

Seriously, are women (and men) ever allowed to discuss gender issues without being attacked as man haters, AM? How do we get your permission? Your first post was a parody of the exact reaction the article was discussing.

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And I'm shocked that there is an implicit agreement among some people that men who have been in combat have some kind of Droit du Seigneur.

Well, I had to google that. I learn a lot from you crtclms. I know I would not hold up well in combat. I guess you have to be absolutely convinced that the cause is just and that the war is necessary. But that is sometimes only known from the perspective of history. I might have charged Cemetery Ridge if born at the wrong time and imbued with the wrong values.

Edited by Will

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That photo has never seemed romantic to me. Look at the force he's exerting through the arm around her neck and the way his fingers are digging in to her side. Notice that she isn't embracing him back. I've always thought that their clinch looked savage.

I agree with Crtclms and Antigone. Our culture can't seem to get its head around the idea that women are honest-to-God full-fledged human beings who have the absolute right to determine what happens to their bodies at all times, and the right to fight for that right when it's violated.

Edit for typos. Friggin' iPad.

Edited by Gearhead

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While I agree that the body language in the photo argues against them knowing each other because she's not returning the embrace, I'm not sure the story from the blog is correct, either. Apparently several people stepped up to say they were the photographed couple:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/kissing-sailor-photograph_n_1774100.html

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/06/that-times-square-smooch-right-to-the-kisser/

And if the woman quoted in this article is telling the truth, it wasn't too upsetting for her. She is a different woman than the one in the crtclm's blog reference:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-11-09-nurse-photo_N.htm

I also find it reassuring that the older woman on the right is smiling. I'd like to think that if the nurse was in distress, she wouldn't be smiling.

I will disclose that I am most definitely a feminist, and also a rape victim, so I'm not interested in glossing over forced sexuality in any form.

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oh for fuck's sake, AM, let me explain it this way: If some strange guy I didn't know came up to me, grabbed me, kissed me forcibly (as in the pose, not just a smack on the lips), I'd haul off, hit him and threaten him with the effin cops. And I'm not a man-hating feminist, so don't start that nonsense.

Even if it was a smack on the lips, the response would be "What the hell? What do you think you're DOING?" with a large amount of outrage.

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In any case I would never consider this a sexual assault. It's a kiss. Certainly the nurse didn't.

AM- where is the line for you then?

Please be specific.

I would consider being touched in a sexual way that is unwanted an assault on my personal space. OH WAIT I HAVE CONSIDERED IT THAT.

Most reasonable people understand that an invasion of personal space isn't ok, but you seem to think shoving a tongue in another's mouth, swapping bodily fluids, any or all of the above is perfectly fine without permission.

As long as it's a kiss. Because kisses are "harmless", right?

Why is that?

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I am remembering being grabbed and kissed against my will when i was in my early twenties, and very small.

The man was a full foot taller than me and agressive. It was scary. He was an infantry officer.

I did manage to get through my door and lock it. Then he yelled profanity at me in the hallway of my apartment

building late at night.

Then he went home and started calling me, harrassing me.

charming

I later learned he had done this with other women.

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