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Negotiation of Gender Identity Essay

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Updated: Nov 8th, 2018

The negotiation of gender identity is an issue that has raised a lot of mayhem at the workplaces. This paper will outline the issue by critically analyzing the GI Jane movie. The movie, GI Jane, is a fictional artwork whose plot revolves around the first woman to undertake sea training in the United States Navy Special Welfare Group. It is ironical that the lead actress, Demi Moore, who plays Jordan O’Neill in this male dominated film, is a woman.

The main actress is striving to be treated equally as her male counterparts in the training. She even goes to the extent of sharing the same sleeping place with her male colleagues. All the things she does throughout the movie are intended to bring equal treatment for both sexes. The main actress wants to prove to other actors that even women are capable of handling the duties perceived as men’s. This paper uses the movie to outline the ways through which gender bias can be eliminated.

This female subject becomes the lead character of this movie and behaves as if she was equal to the other male trainees. Despite the rigorous procedure used for recruiting the naval officers and the enlisted personnel, she is able to sail through and impress the panelists. Despite the numerous barriers the main lead actress encounters during the training, she doesn’t give up on the training.

The O’Neill lives by the same principles, upholds the same values and lives in the same quarters as them. In fact, as a result of the lead’s actress’ box of tampons, one of the male trainees was so terrorized by her sharing the same sleeping place with them. Although she portrays to be as strong as men in this challenging training, she almost gives in to a sexual relationship with her lead training instructor, Master Chief. Such relationships are some of the factors, which interfere with the efforts of the lead actress to fight for equality.

Women are most often discriminated or exempted from certain jobs or activities. Such jobs, which involves a lot of risks are said to belong to men (Inness 54). In the movie, Jordan who is the main character gets into training in the Seals Otters. It has never occurred before that a woman can undergo such rigorous training.

Even though there are thousands of women serving in the navy, it is still regarded by majority as a men’s career. The fact that Jordan plays a major role in the movie is a clear indication that even women can be as strong as men in any given career (Zeigler and Gunderson 72).

The masculine characters are portrayed in a manner that looks down upon women especially in the military. The fact that Master Chief develops intimate feelings for Jordan indicates that there some men who still view the women as sexual objects. In the United States the attempt to review the law in order to incorporate female characters in the military service has been thwarted by the male chauvinists.

In most cases, the party that is interested in upholding gender-based discrimination must prove that such a move meets or helps in achieving important governmental objectives (Zeigler and Gunderson 70). Irrespective of the ability of women to perform certain duties such as service in the military, they cannot be integrated into it just because of their gender (Zeigler and Gunderson 73).

There have been campaigns in various organizations and governmental agencies to allow equality of gender in the work place. Women want to be included in every sector of leadership and governance. “While change may come slowly, as women continue to gain inclusion in all spheres of the civilian world, they will eventually do so in the services as well.” (Zeigler and Gunderson 73, Para. 2). This shows the determination and zeal that the women activists have in ensuring equality in jobs (Zeigler and Gunderson 73).

In GI Jane movie, there is a concern that the services of men in the military will be compromised due to mistreatment of women. The point is proved right when a male colleague, who is a leader of the seal squad, helps Jordan in some of the difficulties she encounters. She was expected to handle herself, and she is also assaulted sexually before her teammates during sere training.

This is aimed at making them reveal their information to the enemy in defense of the female squad member. This indicates that the presence of female members in a military squad can jeopardize their missions. This is also another discrimination criteria portrayed in the movie (Zeigler and Gunderson 73).

In the contemporary society, it is reported that quite a number of leaders and Presidents have plunged their countries with a perspective that they are defending the manhood of their countries. A nation that accepts bloodshed as the last horror has lost what is regarded as its manhood. This was a declaration after the World War 1. After this, so many wars that took place were in defense of the nation’s manhood.

The Vietnam War, the gulf war were paradigms of manhood. President Ronald Reagan, because he wanted America to display firmness of manhood, intervened in Nicaragua. Men’s work is regarded as real while that of women is an insult. Therefore, no leader or ruler wants to associate his country with feminism (Zeigler and Gunderson 74).

The GI Jane movie depicts a woman character that is willing to sacrifice a lot in order to be accepted into the military, it is a portrayal of masculinization of a female person. At the onset, it is said that “Demi Moore Takes It like a Man” (Brown 49, Para. 2). This is an indication of women not being in a position to carry out some tasks as they are. They have to live behind their womanhood and do it as men do.

This means that if they face the situation as women, then the possibility of completing the task effectively is very low. She loses part of her womanhood in the training and adapts men’s masculine nature. She cuts her hair short and her training routine makes her to lose period. Her body too becomes more masculine like those of men (Brown 49).

In adapting and changing into masculinity, Jordan eventually becomes the most respectable member of the seal. She does it better than all her colleagues by displaying spectacular skills in rescuing her boss. After rescuing her commanding officer, she then proceeds and delivers the whole platoon.

This is a display of the ability of women having equal or even better chance of competing in anything. She can attain all the heights in life if she dedicates time and energy. However, this does not come for free for she has to sacrifice a part of her womanhood in order to achieve her goals (Inness 56).

The master chief of the group mistreats her in order to discourage her from continuing in the military. He employs all the cruelty skills earned from training on her. Nevertheless, the determination of Jordan becoming the first military navy woman could not fade off. Even when she had been brutally beaten by her boss with the perspective of intimidating her, she retaliates at him with insults of “suck my dick.”

She receives applause from the fellow compatriots and regains composer and fame. This mistreatment reflects on the contemporary society’s position on women. They are treated as objects for certain specific activities. Any attempt to break lose will result into enduring pain and hardships (Inness 57).

Another aspect elaborating gender discrimination is the cold and casual treatment that Jordan receives from her boyfriend Royce. To him, she has lost her womanhood for military and therefore incomplete as a woman. The way men treat her too at the receptionist, others even whistling at her indicating that she is just a sex object.

To them, she is not expected to complete the training. This explains the society’s view of a woman’s position in the community. The community cannot expect a woman to be able to perform rigorous activities that require masculine bodies (Schubart 338).

The defiant behavior of Jordan to have sex with men in the seal squad puts her on the spot. Most critics say that her unusual behavior suggests that she might be a lesbian.

Together with the other two actors alongside her, the question of womanhood is raised. As usual, it is expected that the ladies cannot afford to stay with men for a long time without having sexual intercourse this shows the society’s position concerning female characters. They are regarded as gullible, fragile and without a firm position in decision making (Cook 183).

Just like in most movie and story books, feminism is criticized when it comes to jobs or roles that have been culturally associated with men. It becomes more difficult for the male counterparts to comprehend and accept the challenge offered by women. Without the support of men, women may not fully exploit their potentials in various fields.

The western culture has over a long time conflated masculinity. It can redefine any word it finds necessary in order to emphasize a point against feminism. To some extent, masculinity or masculinities are words that are used in informing intellectual cultures that are not necessary (Eberwein 176).

Another degree of gender biasness is found in the American leadership and the government. During the time Patricia Ireland served in the government as an executive vice president of a nationwide organization for women, elaborated a number of things of the government and the constitution. One of them is that combat exclusion only offers protection for men’s jobs. Women are excluded. This means that they can lose their jobs as easily as they are obtained (Zeigler and Gunderson 73).

On the other hand, women do not see sex as a deterrent to attaining their goals. It is reported that sex was common during the veteran war just as it was in the desert storm. This does not alter the performance of a lady. It is also noted that gender integrated crews have no and will not combat the readiness and the capabilities of a leader or commandant.

Soldiers do make friendship, they do it either way. That means subordinates can have friendship with their bosses and vice versa. However, this does not alter the ability or the inability to perform their duties. One soldier remarked that the military should be able to train its members and avoid dwelling on unnecessary misconduct or relations. These issues are brought down to nature and they are not related to occupation (Zeigler and Gunderson 76).

There was another claim that women cannot be able to work in some particular sectors. One of them was firefighting industry. After a close examination and measurement of the upper section of women’s bodies, it was concluded that they are unable to carry other people on their shoulders. However, they were later proved wrong (Zeigler and Gunderson 76).

In conclusion, gender biasness discriminating on women is a major concern in today’s society. In the movie GI Jane, the main character, Jordan is depicted as a woman who acts as a bridge to indicate that, what the society sees as impossibility is made possible through determination. However, gender discrimination is brought out in a more elaborate manner.

The fact that her boss mistreats her in order to intimidate her is an indication of gender discrimination. The colleagues also welcome her to the seal squad with a view of a sexual object that has joined the group. Almost every man flirted with her while others were whistling to her. This is the discrimination that has been perpetuated in the society for a long period of time.

Works Cited

Brown, Jeffrey A. Dangerous Curves: Action Heroines, Gender, Fetishism, and Popular Culture. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2011. Print.

Cook, Bernie. Thelma & Louise Live!: The Culture Afterlife of an American Film. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2007. Print.

Eberwein, Robert T. The War Film. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers, the State University, 2005. Print.

Inness, Sherrie A. Action Chicks: New Images of Tough Women in Popular Culture. New York, NY: Sherrie A. Inness, 2004. Print.

Schubart, Rikke. Super Beaches and Action Babes: The Female Hero in Popular Cinema, 1970-2006. Jefferson, NC: Rikke Schubart, 2007. Print.

Zeigler, Sara L., and Gregory, G. Gunderson. Moving Beyond G.I. Jane: Women and the U.S. Military. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc, 2005. Print.

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