Lables Shown In G.I. Jane Essay, Research Paper
The Labels Shown in GI Jane
The movie GI Jane is about a test to see if women are capable of becoming part of combat units in the United States military. It is a test of the capabilities of a woman (played by Demi Moore) and to see if she can complete Navy SEAL training. This is designed to see if the US policy on women in combat units (Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, Marine Force Recon, etc.) is valid. Currently, the US military does not allow women in front line units such as the SEALs and they are not allowed in units that are designated combat arms such as infantry, armor, and artillery.
The purpose of the policy is to keep women out of the front lines and the majority of the fighting when a battle is fought. Some people say that it is because women don t have the physical capability to keep up with men and they would be a hindrance to the unit. In the movie the Command Master Chief in charge of the SEAL training made a comment on the Israeli s trying to put women in combat. He said that the Israeli troops mourned more over a fallen female soldier then they did a fellow man who had been killed. These emotions caused the men to be less effective in combat and cost additional lives.
When Lieutenant O Neal was allowed into SEAL school she was labeled from the start as a female that would never be allowed to pass the training. From the moment she reported to her commanding officer she was treated differently. This type of treatment (regardless of how obvious it might be) is designed to single people out. In a situation like this being an individual is the easiest way to fail. This individualized treatment was designed to make this woman fail.
Because she was labeled as a woman her instructors wanted to see her fail and her fellow trainees had no desire to help her succeed. If anything her fellow trainees wanted her to fail even more. Quotes such as No split tail s getting through this program. Set the tone for the training. The common sentiment was that this was a publicity stunt and that this woman had no place being there and no chance of passing.
The combination of being singled out and the fact that she was considered weak because of her gender made the training much harder than course is normally (which under normal conditions results in approx. 60% failure). Lt. O Neal was given different standards and various advantages in the name of gender norming . These things singled her out further and made things even worse. The instructors were trying to single her out so her peers would think even less of her and force her to quit.
The looks of disgust from a boat crew when she was placed with them were evidence of the lack of respect shown to her. One soldier in particular refused to listen to her even when she was in command of the boat crew. Until she proved herself to be able to pull her own weight and keep up with the men in everything they did she was labeled as weak, and a liability to everyone around her.
Lt. O Neal did eventually prove herself to be capable of keeping up and pulling her own weight. After those labels had been removed she was looked at as a fellow SEAL and she received the respect that she had earned.