Blogger calls 'Kissing Sailor' sexual assault


Unrestrained celebration or forceful assault? One feminist blogger is saying that the iconic Times Square kiss was the latter.

London-based blogger “Leopard” wrote that Alfred Eisenstaedt’s “Kissing Sailor” photo taken on VJ Day shows an act of sexual assault based on comments from the woman in the photo, Huffington Post reported.

“It wasn’t my choice to be kissed,” said Greta Zimmer Friedman, identified as the woman in the photo. “The guy just came over and grabbed!”

Another website,, pointed out the woman’s body language, including her clenched fist and limp body.

While it was once thought that the pair was a couple celebrating, the book “The Kissing Sailor” by George Galdorisi and Lawrence Verria confirmed that the two were strangers.

“Leopard” calls out the media for continuing to romanticize the image, even after the true story behind it was revealed.

“The unwillingness to recognize a problem here is not surprising, considering the rape culture in which we live,” according to the blog. “It is not easy to assert that a woman’s body is always her own, not to be used at the whim of any man without her consent.”

Is this photo timelessly romantic or sexual assault?


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  1. I always thought this picture was over the line, his arm around the back of the head… she’s being restrained and the extreme angle of her body shows a lot of force in that kiss. It is an iconic picture and behavior like this might be condoned given the event and the times but it is over the line.

  2. Really? Look close at the woman’s hand (she is holding on to her dress) It is NOT clenched in a FIST! Also look at her right leg, it is not in a position of being attacked, it is relaxed and not ready to Knee the guy! When on earth will ppl stop trying to be so politically correct and re-writting history. If you have problems like this then heaven help us all (Because sure as heck there are a LOT bigger ones) .

  3. I look at that photo and I see a spontaneous expression of elation – the war is over! And I think people who see something else should look into why they see a victim instead. I don’t want to live in a world where expressions of joy are considered criminal – we’re already too close to getting there!

  4. Are we kidding here. Again this is an iconic photo. After ready Mrs. Friedman’s statements about the kiss she never does say that she felt violated or assaulted. This is another case of someone trying to cause issues where there arent any. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But its obvious to me that in this day and age people will look for any reason to say something is improper. This is another case of a damaged person for whatever reason changing facts to suite their beliefs. And thats just sad!!

  5. Greta Friedman went to great lengths to prove that it was actually her in the photo when other women were claiming to be the nurse who was kissed. She participated in a reenactment of the picture, willingly. She has given numerous interviews about the picture. Not once has she said anything at all to indicate that she herself felt violated by the event. When she said, in the Library of Congress interview, that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed, it seems more along the lines of that she didn’t initiate the kiss, it just happened, it was a singular moment during a huge celebration and everyone was kissing everyone out of joy and happiness. Not that it wasn’t her choice because she was sexually violated.

    While I consider myself a feminist, as well as a supporter of the military, I do not in anyway see this as evidence of rape culture in America at large, or the military in general. There are plenty of actual assaults that could serve as an example of the rape problem. Because rape is an actual problem whether it takes place in civilian life or the military.

    When you try to extrapolate something from a sixty year old photo of a woman being kissed and try to impose your beliefs, while dismissing what the actual woman said about the actual event, then you are doing a great disservice to women in general by silencing their voices with your own rhetoric. What Greta Friedman feels about this picture and about the events that day is only for Greta Friedman to say. And she has had plenty of opportunity to say what she thinks and feels. Why can’t we listen to Greta?

    Everyday, women, men, and children are raped and violated. Those are the stories we should be focusing on. Their experiences are the ones we should be using as motivation to change the culture into one that doesn’t endorse rape, whether explicity or implicity. And there are plenty of iconic media images of sexual assault being romanticized out there if we want to discuss the reality of how power and sex is looked at in America. The famous scene in Gone With the Wind where Rhett forces Scarlett into bed, for example, is an example of that.

  6. Very well said Sara, I couldn’t have said it better myself. When people view past events through the lens of time and then bend and shape what they see through their ideological filters, there’s always that chance that something will be misinterpreted. It appears that “Leopard” has her head stuck up that deep, dark posterior cavity.

  7. Sara is very much ‘on target.’ Also, “context matters.” What IS an assault in one context is not necessarily an assault in a different context. Further, if the person feels assaulted, then that has to be considered valid, even if the law does not allow. Likewise, if they don’t feel assaulted, then that is just is valid. Ms. Friedman seems to have not felt assaulted, and that should settle it.

  8. I actually saw an interview of those 2 depicted in the picture. They were both in their old age and guess what, THEY GOT MARRIED AND I’M POSITIVE THEY DON’T CARE WHAT THE FEMINIST HAS TO SAY! Hahahaha! No they didn’t know eachother, he just decided that he would kiss the first pretty girl he saw and that was her. I’m sure in her young age was more like “sexual alright” and not “sexual assault”. 🙂

  9. But yes, it is important to recognize whether someone accepts that attention or not. Yes, I just read the article, it’s true. I knew the story so I didn’t bother to read. I believe it is only sexaul assault if it is unwanted. I’ve clenched my fist when my husband has surprised me…I did it because I was surprised. I’ve also had my hands fly open for the same reason. It’s still the same, if she didn’t want that, he would be in trouble. But she wanted that. People just need to be careful on who they think may “want” their attention…these days particularly.

  10. Wow! Let’s get NCIS to open up this cold case file, and get his sexual deviant before a DRB before we Court Martial him for violating UCMJ Article 120. It’s because of these rogue feminist groups that sling rhetoric and miscontortions of facts at the wall to see what sticks is why legitimate sexual assaults are sometime minimized or scrutinized by commands. Shipmates take your Navy Recruting posters of the young girl wearing a male SDB and say: “Gee!!!!” I wish I was a man, I joined the Navy for you may be labeled a sexist and an EO complaint levied against you.

  11. I think the “Leopard” needs to stop blogging for 2 minutes and look up the definition of ‘sexual assault’. Think she’s upset that some Sailor didn’t give her a smooch like that!

  12. So if this is sexual assault, then under NY law it would fall under forcible touching at best. So a celebrating sailor should be imprisoned for this for 1 year. I swear the end goal of some of these people is to force relationship and intercourse contracts to ensure consent.

  13. I have always, since the first time I saw the photo, have seen a photo of a woman putting up with a kiss from a sailor: her body language is plain to see, if you look, and are willing to see what’s there.

  14. Yeah, I’m sure she went home that night and cried herself to sleep…..which, of course, was followed by 65+ years of PTSD, from living through this heinous act! [/sarcasm]

    This so-called blogger, “Leopard”, seriously needs to get a life!

  15. To be honest, I can see where Leopard is coming from. If someone goes out and grabs the nearest girl they see and kisses her, that’s not okay, regardless of whether or not a war had just ended.

  16. Egghatch gets it.

    Remove the rose tinted glasses of history and ask “is it okay for a stranger to force himself on a woman?”. Context is irrelevant because that behaviour is NEVER something we should find acceptable. It doesn’t matter if he just returned from war or war is over, that doesn’t justify assaulting someone.

    If she didn’t have a problem with it, fair enough for her, thats her perogative, but *his* behaviour was wrong and needs to be pointed out.

    I don’t want young boys thinking this is acceptable behaviour.

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