Home / Blog / Article


February 21 2019

Kissing Sailor Statue Ignites MeToo Controversy

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

A statue commemorating of the iconic moment when an American sailor kissed a random woman to cheer the surrender of Japan, was vandalized recently because some now consider it a celebration of crime not triumph.

In the era of #metoo, no stone is being left unturned.

You probably know the “Kissing Sailor” photograph taken in New York City in 1945. A jubilant 26-year-old sailor, George Mendonsa, grabbed and kissed 21-year-old Greta Friedman. The moment was captured on camera and, subsequently, became the symbol of the war’s end.

Sarasota, FL installed a statue depicting the moment over a decade ago, but after Mendonsa passed this weekend at age 95, someone spray painted the statue with “MeToo.”

The reactions from feminists and leftists appears to be that doing wrong can be excused because the original moment was a crime.

As one woman explains:

“Some think of the tagging as a desecration but it really highlights the prevalence and neutralization of sexual assault and rape culture. Grabbing Friedman and kissing her without her consent was wrong 70 years ago and it is wrong today.”

They feel justified by Friedman’s description of that the kiss as not particularly romantic:

"Suddenly, I was grabbed by a sailor," she told Veterans History Project in 2005. "It wasn't that much of a kiss. It was more of a jubilant act that he didn't have to go back."
...
"He was just holding me tight. I'm not sure about the kiss... It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn't a romantic event. It was just ... 'Thank God, the war is over.'"

The moment was not romantic for Mendonsa either, but celebratory:

"So we get into Times Square and the war ends and I see the nurse," he remembers. "I had a few drinks, and it was just plain instinct, I guess. I just grabbed her."

Both Friedman and Mendonsa have passed away but the controversy is hot.

Apparently, like Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman” men like Mendonsa are “creeps.” An activist summarized, this statue is “really just a symbol of patriarchy and rape culture.”

I wonder how these folks feel about mistletoe?

Ironically, Friedman was not up-in-arms when she was alive. Of all people, she should have been, but she maintained that it was a celebratory event. She never brought charges against him or spoke negatively about him.

Regardless of how you feel about the moment, there is no justifying vandalization.

You won’t “neutralize” the patriarchy by destroying private property or committing a crime.

Furthermore, supporting #metoo is not a license for reckless behavior and mayhem.

Like the hoodlums who vandalized our national monuments or are destroying Civil War Monuments, one wrong (if it is wrong) doesn’t justify another.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
Follow us