I always reblog this because for every one person who understands the true story behind this picture there’s about 50 who don’t.
Scummy as grabbing and kissing a woman on the street undeniably is, I would like to caution people against ignoring Greta Friedman’s perspective and painting her as a victim.
I’ve seen a few people representing her story in fairly sensationalist ways, and it feels (to me) like her statements have been farmed for problematic quotes to support the writer’s conclusions, and her actual feelings on the matter have been ignored.
I saw, on the lighted bill board that goes around the building. .. ‘V-J Day, V-J Day!’ That really confirmed what the people had said in the office. Suddenly, I was grabbed by a sailor. It wasn’t that much of a kiss. It was more of a jubilant act that he didn’t have to go back. I found out later he was so happy that he didn’t have to go back to the Pacific where they had already been through the war. The reason he grabbed somebody dressed like a nurse, that he felt so very grateful to the nurses who took care of the wounded.
It’s Greta Friedman’s right to determine whether the situation on the street was positive or negative.
They were happy, they didn’t have to go back to war. They’d had enough!
She’s fairly clear, over the course of this interview, about how she interpreted the mood that led to the infamous kiss as being a positive and elated one:
all throughout the day and the evening, people were there. It was like New Year’s Eve only better!
She does not consider herself to have been victimized by a sexual assault.
I’m not sure about the kiss… it was just somebody celebrating. It wasn’t a romantic event. It was just an event of ‘thank god the war is over’ … it was right in front of the sign.
It is Friedman’s right to be horrified, unhappy, enthusiastic or proud about being kissed. Her experience is not our political scandal. We, as bystanders several generations in the future, do not get to decide she should have felt.
Rape culture is a real thing, and trying to make what happened suddenly an okay thing simply because she personally shrugged it off would indeed be part of that—but when we make a spokesperson out of Friedman in this way, we are using her. She gets to decide how to tell her story. Full stop.
How does it feel to be so famous?
It’s kind of fun, because it’s very accidental. Fame for just being there…being dressed right. Actually, the fame belongs to the photographer. He provided an art… I can’t call it a skill. He was an artist. I just happened to be there…. and so did George.Swapping christmas cards and being on good terms with with the guy who kissed her and his wife: this is her choice, and we need to respect that she is smart enough to decide whether she wants to associate with the guy afterwards or not.We send Christmas cards and [George] has a very lovely wife and I have talked to her. Were not friends to see each other, but through this happening we have something in common.It’s not OK to touch people or kiss people without permission. A culture that says that it’s all in good fun when men push women around is objectively sick, but can we please not rewrite a grown woman and an American icon into a symbol of victimhood without her consent? She has a voice here. Don’t take that away because you want to make a point on her behalf.Disagree with her for taking what happened so lightly if you want, but please do so knowing you’re arguing with a person who was actually there, and whose perspective is valid, however outdated by your social standards.Is Friedman herself guilty of the “wide misinterpretation” of the photo because she is not unhappy about what happened? When is it right to tell another person that their experience is invalid?All my Greta Friedman quotes come from this interview, which I really recommend. It contains information about who she is, as well as the role she played during the war before the kiss.
For anyone who’s interested, here’s the full article.