Friday, 21 March 2014

Controversial Opinion: Iconic WWII Kiss

Before getting into this blog, I want to state that I will not be accepting any rude comments or comments that come off in an attacking way. I realise that my opinion is going to be very controversial, but I will be stating it with evidence. Everyone is entitled to their own theory and opinions on this, but one thing needs to be straight first: disrespecting the dead is acceptable in no way, shape, or form - no matter who they were while living.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/Getty

Above, the photo in question. This week the local news station Facebook accounts have made posts like this one, where they talk about the iconic WWII photo of the sailor kissing a nurse. Much of these posts have been met with a 60% negative feedback on how he was assaulting her and strings of rude comments.


The photo became an icon, and has been met with much backlash. Many people call the man a sexual assailant, claiming that seconds after this was taken she reached up to slap him as shown by the blurring of her hand in other photos from different angles. Has anyone thought that the blur in the photo may simply be due to age? The photo above shows just a slight blurring movement of her hand, not even a second after the previous photo was shot. You may need to enlarge the photo to see it.

Many have been misled about this photo, and have said things like:

"Good [that he's dead] I hope he rots in hell after forcing himself on that women. I hate that this photo of him assaulting her is so famous its sickening. Look at her bodly language she doesn't look very happy."

Pasted directly from the prior post link. After becoming extremely tired of seeing such negative things about a man who fought for my country I decided to post something - plus, she was the only negative one on the whole thread. My response, directly pasted:

"Everyone complains about her being assaulted like he seriously harmed her. First reaction to being grabbed by anyone - known or not - is to reach up and hit them. SO WHAT if he kissed her. Anyone give any thought to how this was right after the war and all these men were just happy to be home and alive? Let him rest in peace instead of reprimanding him for a mistake that happened ages ago."

While I do realise that assault is a serious thing it also needs to be clear to people who wish to act in the way this woman (from Facebook) does that back during WWII there was really no such thing as assault. Something like an unwanted kiss that may result in more action now would likely have been met by police telling her to go on home then.

After posting my bit, I decided to do a bit more research than I had earlier this week. New research showed me that the woman who has been given credit for being in the photo, Edith Shain, did not claim that she had been "assaulted". Assault came into the mix after it was revealed that the sailor and nurse in question did not know each other - and of course, band-wagoners jumped on with how disgraceful this man is. Many fail to do even enough research to find that the man who has just died is one of ten who originally claimed to be the man in the photo. The women who had previously commented with her negativity responded, unassumingly to me:

"Yup who am I to judge someone who sexually assults women lol"

And was met with someone else saying:

"Lol sexually assaults. HAHAHA HAHAHA. Good one."

I decided that maybe it was time I share a little something else with her - this article from 26 June 2010 in the Los Angeles Times, and another message:

"Maybe you should read this where it has been documented that given the situation she did not mind and let him. This isn't the only article around either, if enough looking is done, where she states that she didn't mind."

Which is true! I found multiple articles where representatives and journalists had interviewed her and had her recount the day and how she felt. Below is a quote directly from the above linked article in which she explains what the kiss was for her.

"You can imagine how people felt. They were just elated," she said. "Someone grabbed me and kissed me, and I let him because he fought for his country. I closed my eyes when I kissed him. I never saw him."

This is very important. She states that she let him. Yes, she gives a reason, but that is irrelevant. She let him. Endless amounts of band-wagoners can call this assault, but it is the words of the women in the photo which are important. Yes she states that they were strangers, but no where does she state that it was assault.

Wow, look how hard she hit him you guys. Nearly knocked him over! Okay, I'll stop with the sarcasm - my mum just said something like that and I thought it was a really good one when this next photo is shown.

No source

Do you see how gently she is touching his face, with just the tips of her fingers just barely? Disrespecting the dead is acceptable in no way, shape, or form - no matter who they were while living. By today's standards this could definitely be considered assault, though she'd have to state that it was assault as well as press charges. That could go either way with the way the justice system is in favour of those who work in it or are well-known. Would someone today be charged with assault for kissing a nurse after returning from war? Police get away with so much worse daily, for simply working in law enforcement. That fact alone leads me to believe that a similar case today would be ignored. And anyways, those interviewed or who gave statements about the day said everyone was hugging and kissing each other - everyone was happy that the war was over. I honestly believe if something similar were to happen today that it would be just the same.

All that stated, say it with me now:

Disrespecting the dead is acceptable in no way, shape, or form - no matter who they were while living.

Disrespecting the dead is acceptable in no way, shape, or form - no matter who they were while living.

Disrespecting the dead is acceptable in no way, shape, or form - no matter who they were while living.

Disrespecting the dead is acceptable in no way, shape, or form - no matter who they were while living.

Again, please keep in mind that I do realise that sexual assault is a very serious thing and should not be taken lightly. However I also believe that we should all treat others with kindness and "be the bigger man" so to speak, instead of stooping to the levels of others in the way we hate. Before the woman died, she said her bit - that is something I wish everyone to know, because I don't think I can stand to see another hateful comment about a hero that may potentially not even have been the man.

A comment left where I originally posted this, I feel is very important to share with you all and will be the closing of this blog:
"Well said. I have looked into this whole thing myself and it's just one of those things that people need to educate themselves on instead of letting others try and reason with them.
It's one of the reasons why I don't like certain websites geared towards pop culture and social commentary---there is a lot of misinformation that is spread through these sites, and it's accepted as truth. Yet people fail to realize that not everything they read or see is what it seems."

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