Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Times Square Kiss-In: Let's Celebrate Rape Culture!

Today I'm going to be a horrible feminist buzzkill.

Well, more of a horrible feminist buzzkill than usual, that is.

Yesterday was the Times Square Kiss-In, a "romantic" event in which masses of couples gather to reenact this infamous picture:

"But Kaif," you may be asking yourself, "why did you spell 'romantic' with those quotey thingies?"

Because the kiss in that picture wasn't consensual.

You see, the people in that picture didn't know each other. In fact, they hadn't even seen each other until that very moment. According to "The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II," some drunk guy named George Mendonsa grabbed the nearest woman, who happened to be Greta Zimmer, and kissed her.

Of the event, Greta has said, "And then I was grabbed. That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me." Considering her words, awkward posture, and clenched fist, the kiss was clearly unwelcome. Contrary to what we've all wanted to believe, it wasn't a romantic moment between lovers. Anyone feeling generous could call it creepy and gross. Anyone feeling honest would call it sexual assault.

And don't give me any of that "it was a different time!" nonsense. An assault is an assault no matter the era. Such an action has always been bad. The only thing that's changed is us uppity wenches have gotten better at calling out this bullshit.

I can see why the Times Square kiss became a pop culture icon. For the longest time, no one knew who those two people were, much less the real story behind what happened. Without knowing that story, it is a compelling photo. But we know better now. The Times Square kiss had a good run, but I say it's time to retire it as a symbol of romance and passion. Regardless of any previous attachment to that photo, I don't see how anyone could look at what is now known to be the blatant objectification of a woman and think, "yeah, I'm ok pretending that's romantic."

And because I'm such a fucking killjoy who seeks to destroy everything society holds dear, I'll go a step farther and say that we should also do away with things like that absurd kiss-in. Knowing what that picture really depicts, instead of couples getting together to kiss their sweeties, all I see is a celebration of rape culture.

(Which is a bad thing, in case you needed the clarification.)

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