The image is as familiar as the Mona Lisa and as loved as a photo of old friends. A seemingly loving reunion between two "lovers" after one returns home from fighting in World War II. The man grabs the woman and kisses her as if he hadn't seen her for years. But, did he even know her?
According to feministing.com, the picture is a depiction of sexual assault, as the two did not know each other, and the man kissed her against her will.
A London-based feminist and blogger who goes by the name "Leopard" said that the two people pictured were George and Greta, two "perfect strangers." George was drunk, and Greta had no clue who he was until he grabbed her in his arms and kissed her.
To Leopard, it "seems pretty clear" that George had committed sexual assault.
Feministing.com points to multiple clues in the photo as evidence to Leopard's claims. The smirks on the sailors faces in the background suggest something rebellious was happening, while the woman's clenched fist and limp body suggest she was opposed to the man's embrace.
This is not the first time someone has suggested the image was of two strangers. George Galdorisi and Lawrence Verria wrote a book about it, titled "The Kissing Sailor," in which they claimed the kissing duo are George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman. They also said that Mendonsa's girlfriend at the time is visible in the photograph.
The Veterans History Project went further to validate this claim by interviewing Friedman about the kiss. She said, "It wasn't my choice to be kissed. The guy just came over and grabbed!"
Feminist blogger Leopard said she is not surprised by the populations unwillingness to recognize a problem, "considering the rape culture in which we live."
She further stated that "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. It is far easier to turn a blind eye to the feelings of women, to claim that they should [empathize] with the man, that they should be good sports and just go along with it."