On September 30, 2012 a blog titled “Crates and Ribbons” by a London-based blogger posed a very interesting perspective on one of the most famous American pictures of the 20th century: “The Kissing Sailor”. It went on to discuss a different perspective of rather than this being a very romantic, jubilant moment between a sailor who had just returned from World War II and a nurse that it was completely by surprise, upon closer examination appears forced and further promotes the idea that women are simply ‘there for the taking’ – that she did not consent to that. You can read it here.
Just today the blogger posted a follow up titled “Debunking Misconceptions“, with some pretty reasonable rebuttal arguments for those who claim it is unfair to judge such an old photo by modern value standards and that the woman in the photo did not proclaim she was violated, so the argument is invalid. The nurse may not have claimed she was violated, but there is some weight to the point that women are continually encouraged to just smile and ‘get along’, boys will be boys, etc. The nurse used the words “vice grip” when describing the sailor grabbing her.
The point made by the London blogger was not to demonize the man in the photo, but to simply point out several modern articles discuss the forced manner of the event but no one acknowledges that it was probably a situation that put the nurse at a deep disadvantage, however briefly.
It simply points to something much deeper and ingrained in our media culture. I’ve heard some say they will never see this photo in the same way again. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Will it encourage you to alter course in your next marketing campaign? What about the next PR campaign for perfume or cosmetics or even a man’s razor product? How would you utilize this information as a media professional?