The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Gender, Violence, War, Political Memory

October 5, 2012

The sailor (George Mendosa) and nurse (Greta Zimmer Friedman) depicted in this iconic photo snapped moments after the announcement that World War II had ended turned out to be complete strangers, and apparently Greta Friedman, the nurse, wasn’t kissing back:

Mendosa: “It was the moment. You come back from the Pacific, and finally, the war ends,’ Mendonsa told CBS. ‘The excitement of the war being over, plus I had a few drinks. So when I saw the nurse, I grabbed her, and I kissed her.”

Friedman: “I did not see him approaching, and before I know it, I was in this vice grip. That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”

Crates and Ribbons notes how recent interviews with the “couple” fail to acknowledge Mendosa’s behavior as sexual assault. A lively discussion in comments about gender, violence, war, and political memory. Enjoy.

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.