What do the Unconditional Surrender Statue, #METOO, and the #BLM movement have in common?
The Unconditional Surrender Statue, a sailor kissing a nurse, has once again come into the news in Sarasota, Florida because of possibly relocating the statue to a different area within the city. People are protesting the change. Although in this protest, people are not focusing on the conflicting emotions the statue ignites. Regrettably, it symbolizes; simultaneously, two conflicting emotions happiness and sadness.
Besides the end of WWII which was joyous, it sadly reminds us how far back women have been dealing with sexual assault and unwelcome sexual advances.
Sometimes things don’t change even when they should
When we hear and even read the facts we refuse to believe them because they SEVERELY contradict what we think we know.
Our society likes to sugarcoat the truth and at times romanticize it. I understand why in the case of the Unconditional Surrender picture, it was the end of the war (WWII); that was one hell of a kiss captured on film however she and he were strangers when it happened.
It was a METOO moment, the sailor and nurse kissing did not know each other. When the picture was taken the METOO movement had actually begun (in silence).
Let’s Review the Facts on the Unconditional Surrender Statue
In the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt 1969 book The Eye of Eisenstaedt, he explained the confusion at Times Square at the time:
“I was walking through the crowds on V-J Day, looking for pictures. I noticed a sailor coming my way. He was grabbing every female he could find and kissing them all — young girls and old ladies alike. Then I noticed the nurse, standing in that enormous crowd. I focused on her, and just as I’d hoped, the sailor came along, grabbed the nurse, and bent down to kiss her. Now if this girl hadn’t been a nurse, if she’d been dressed in dark clothes, I wouldn’t have had a picture. The contrast between her white dress and the sailor’s dark uniform gives the photograph its extra impact.”
The Me too movement could have started when the nurse acknowledged in the New York Post in 2012, “the kiss did kind of bother someone else, though: the woman in the nurse’s uniform, Greta Zimmer, who wasn’t even a nurse. She was a 21-year-old dental assistant from Queens, who, having heard rumors about the end of the war, walked over to Times Square from her office on Lexington Avenue. George says he was so drunk, that he doesn’t even remember the kiss. Greta says she’ll never forget it”.
In that same article she stated, “she isn’t sure how long she was standing there; maybe minutes. “And then I was grabbed,” she says. “That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”
One could argue because George Mendonsa had been drinking so much prior to learning the good news about WWII ending that he acted completely out of character due to the influence of alcohol.
Out of fairness, that was the case however it must be said over and over again the influence of alcohol is NEVER a justification to sexually assault a woman. He may have forgotten his behavior. SHE never did!
What does this have to do with the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM)?
The answer is simple women deserve the same respect shown in society throughout history (and presently). Respect is shown through artwork, statues, and advertising. The Unconditional Surrender Statue is not respecting women in 2020.
We are in the midst of changing for Black Americans in history (and presently).
As stated in the New York Times a few months ago,
“Across the country, monuments criticized as symbols of historical oppression have been defaced and brought down at warp speed in recent days. The movement initially set its sights on Confederate symbols and examples of racism against African-Americans but has since exploded into a broader cultural moment, forcing a reckoning over such issues as European colonization and the oppression of Native Americans.“
“We’ve got to move forward, not look back. “As long as we are dealing with these statues, we’re not moving forward.”
#METOO Would Celebrate Change
An article written by the BBC stated, “It may be called ‘Unconditional Surrender,’ but the circumstance was ‘Involuntary Surrender.’ She didn’t know that guy, he just grabbed her and kissed her,” the commenter continued.
“[I’m] not saying this woman feels like a victim, but technically it was an unwanted, unsolicited sexual act. Plain and simple,” another person wrote.
“The MeToo movement is also meant to educate and understand that women cannot continue to be seen as sex objects that men can just take when they want!”
Slate wrote ”Me Too ushered in a nationwide discussion of the ways sexual harassment and assault had been normalized in Hollywood and other industries”.
A Few Ideas for Change
As we heard this past week, several brands; such as Uncle Ben’s Rice and Aunt Jemima, who have been around for decades are changing their logos due to BLM. The willingness of these brands to change their logos states they are aware of how they impact cultural views.
Change can happen for the ME TOO movement by starting with removing the Unconditional Statute. If there is strong resistance against that removal, a good compromise would be acknowledging the statue represents an unwelcome sexual advance.
Rename Hooters Restaurant, the name Hooters implies breasts and the waitress’s uniform focuses on breasts (among other areas) which you can’t help but look at the waitress’s cleavage. Their work attire does not respect females rather it promotes only looking at females as sexual objectives.
I suggest renaming the Unconditional Surrender Statue to Unconditional Assault Statue.
Let’s remove, at least, these three slangs from our everyday dialogue; you are acting like a pussy, grow some balls, or grow a pair since each comment implies females are weak.
Survivors of sexual assault, sexual violence, and sexual misconduct would be appreciative when society acknowledges and supports the ME TOO movement. The unsolicited behavior towards females continues in 2020. Women do not need to be reminded on a daily basis that their voices are not heard.