2018 saw a raging storm that took over different parts of the globe, weakening many foundations and revealing the dark realities of the bright glamorous world. #MeToo was one of the revolutionary movement that strengthened the pillar of women empowerment and gave a platform to many muffled voices. It seems that the strong wave has not passed yet and the pressing evidence of sexual harassment and violence stands still. A statue portraying the famous photograph of a sailor kissing a woman in Times Square, Florida, to commemorate the end of World War II was found vandalised with graffiti reading #MeToo. #MeToo in Bollywood: Rajkumar Hirani, Anu Malik, Alok Nath, Here's the List of All Celebs Accused of Sexual Harassment So Far.
The statue named the “Unconditional Surrender” is located in Sarasota, Florida. The incident took place a day after the sailor, George Mendosa died. The state police, however, have stated on Tuesday that they were looking for the unidentified vandals and have erased the graffiti.
Mendonsa was a sailor in the US Navy. Captured by Alfred Eisenstadt and later published in Life magazine, the photograph displays the sailor kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman. Friedman was donning a nurse’s uniform, and the picture was taken on August 14, 1945, the day Japan surrendered. This picture became one of the most popular images of the 20th century.
However, there was more to the story of Friedman and Mendonsa. Friedman, who breathed her last in 2016 at the age of 92, revealed to an interviewer in 2005 that it was not a consensual kiss. She said, as reported by BBC, “The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed. It wasn’t much of a kiss. It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn’t a romantic event.”
Mendonsa stated to CBS News in 2012, “It was the moment. You come back from the Pacific and finally, the war ends. 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.”
An article published in Time magazine in 2014 said many people pictured the photo “as little more than the documentation of a very public sexual assault, and not something to be celebrated”.
Have a look at the tweet shared by the official handle of Sarasota Police:
At approximately 12:53 am, our Officers were dispatched to the intersection of N Gulfstream Ave & Bayfront Dr reference to an unknown individual spray painting ‘# MeToo’ on the Unconditional Surrender statue. Additional information is at https://t.co/gv10lGhcja pic.twitter.com/JakU8aI7QY
— SarasotaPD (@SarasotaPD) February 19, 2019
The incident displays the deep-rooted indiscrimination and sexual assault that was faced by women for a long time. This does put us into thinking that, whether a mere #MeToo movement will right all the wrongs, punish the misogynists and perish the stubborn patriarchy? Nevertheless, the #MeToo storm has laid a foundation, supporting the women to raise their voices against injustice.