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The V-J Day “kissing sailor”: From Greatest Generation icon to “rape culture” symbol

March 19, 2014

My latest blog post for the Los Angeles Times:

[Recently deceased Glenn] McDuffie, then only 18 (he’d forged documents to join the Navy at age 15), maintained that he’d impulsively grabbed and kissed a white-clad young nurse who was smiling at him on the sidewalk because he was overwhelmed with happiness knowing that the war’s end meant his brother would be released from a Japanese prison camp. He and the nurse were complete strangers, and McDuffie, according to his account, was on his way to visit his girlfriend in Brooklyn. Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured the two in a series of photos as a ring of jubilant bystanders, who included another sailor, a little girl and a grandmotherly old lady, smilingly surrounded them….

That was then. Now, we have this from the “pursuit of gender equality” website Crates and Ribbons:

“It seems pretty clear, then, that what [the sailor] had committed would be considered sexual assault by modern standards…. The fact that this much-loved photo is a depiction of sexual assault, rather than passion, is an uncomfortable truth, and to call it out as such might make one seem to be a priggish wet blanket. After all, this sailor has risked his life for his country. Surely his relief and excitement at the end of the war is justified? Surely these are unique circumstances? The answer to the first question is yes. He is perfectly entitled to be ecstatic. He is perfectly entitled to celebrate. However, this entitlement does not extend to his impinging on someone else’s bodily autonomy.

Aren’t we ever so much more morally sensitive now that we know about “gender equality” than we were during World War II, when 60,000 young men gave their lives for their country?

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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2 Comments
  1. Lastango permalink

    Most sites I’ve glanced at just now give total US deaths during WWII as 405,000. This one reports 416,800:

    http://www.secondworldwarhistory.com/world-war-2-statistics.asp

    Whatever the exact total, the luxury and privilege we live in was bought with their blood.

    It’s telling that Leftists believe they can get away with smearing the sailor in New York. Such an action would rest on the presumption they’ve successfully sent history down the memory hole, and replaced it with the illusion of consequence-free living. I’m reminded of the liberal who defended his faction’s fecklessness by saying America is “rich enough to afford mistakes”.

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