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Film: G. I. Jane

G. I. Jane is a 1997 action film, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Demi Moore and Viggo Mortensen.

Senator Lillian De Haven of Texas (Anne Bancroft) publicly criticizes the United States Navy for its failure to integrate both male and female recruits to all its services. She strikes a deal, arranging for a series of test cases. A single woman will join each branch currently fully-staffed by males service and try to perform as well as her male colleagues. The first test case has Lieutenant Jordan O' Neil (Moore) joining the U.S. Navy Combined Reconnaissance Team.

The Lieutenant has to contend with the brutal training regime of Command Master Chief John James Urgayle (Mortensen), trumped up charges of being a lesbian (violating the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy), attempts to relegate her to desk jobs, and double-crossing allies. Her graduation test involves an actual operation in the Libyan Desert.

The film features examples of:

  • Abuse Mistake: Jordan and her crew are out celebrating at a bar when she goes to use the restroom. As she washes her hands, another female customer pauses as she passes by and, spotting Jordan's badly bruised face, remarks "Ain't really none of my business, but I say 'leave the bastard'." before exiting, which causes Jordan to laugh. (The abuse really happened, but it was part of her special forces training.)
  • All Abusers Are Male: Averted but mentioned. Jordan has a black eye (among other injuries) after her POW training. While at a bar in the bathroom, a fellow female bar patron sees it and says "Not that it's any of my business, but I'd say dump the bastard."
  • Artistic License Basic Training / Artistic License - Statistics: In an attempt to see if women can serve in combat duty, the DoD lets one woman try SEAL training. The course, as stated in the movie, has a 60% failure rate, meaning you'd need a sample size of at least three to even pretend you've got a realistic bearing.
  • Bald of Awesome: Jordan's shaved head is spotlighted as essential to her training.
  • Bald Women: Jordan.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Jordan gets beaten all to hell during SERE training and has large grazes and scabs on her face for several scenes following.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Command Master Chief John James Urgayle is Captain Smooth (only once does he ever bark at a trainee), while his two subordinate instructors jointly fill the Sergeant Rough position.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The fact that Jordan used to be a Navy intelligence officer.
  • Corrupt Politician: Senator DeHaven to the point where she frames Jordan for being a lesbian in order to avoid military bases closing in her home state of Texas.
  • The Determinator: Jordan
  • Double Standard:
    • Jordan receives preferential treatment in her training at first such as being allowed an additional thirty seconds to finish a training course and being given an aid step for an obstacle, until she goes to her CO and points out that this is only making her male comrades resent her and defeats the purpose of the argument that women are equal, and demands it stop.
    • When Lt. Blondell, Jordan's physician, asks her why she's going through the training, Jordan asks if Blondell asks the men the same thing. Subverted, Blondell replies that she does ask the men the same question.
    • During the POW training the interrogation instructor doesn't want to harm Jordan, but Urgayle, understanding the necessity, has no such reservations and proceeds to beat her mercilessly, and even asks her while he has a headlock on her if he thinks they should treat the women differently to which Jordan screams, "Never!"
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Command Master Chief John James "Jack" Urgayle is a more sedate, erudite version, but no less nasty. He also personally conducts torture on Jordan for SERE training. He is however one of the few characters that displays no sexism, treating Jordan just like any of the other recruits, and doesn't seem to tolerate it either.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Not stated outright but the Real Life equivalent of women in the military is used by Urgayle when he brutally beats Jordan in front of the male trainees during POW training in order to get information from them, and it proves more effective than interrogating the male trainees themselves, as they are clearly about to crack.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Jordan tells her boyfriend that the more she is tried to be forced out of the program, the more she wants to complete it.
  • Forced to Watch: As part of their POW training, Urgayle brutally beats Jordan and pretends that he's about to rape her in front of the male trainees in order to get them to give up information.
  • Gender Is No Object: The film's aesop is that militaries should be this way.
  • History Marches On:
    • A key part of the film involves Jordan facing trumped up charges that she is a lesbian, violating the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy which bars openly homosexual people from serving, but has since been repealed.
    • An operation takes place in Libya, which is described as "Ghaddafi's backyard" - he is no longer alive for it to be his backyard.
    • Roughly fifteen years after the film's release, full gender integration of the US armed forces was announced - but with special units being allowed to figure it out for themselves. This is the inverse of the film's plot, where the Navy SEALs are forced to do it as a trial for the rest of the armed forces.
  • Important Haircut: Jordan shaves her head during her special operations training.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Used on the trainees during their POW training, most notably by Urgayle on Jordan.
  • Jackie Robinson Story: Pretty much the entire plot.
  • Kill Sat: The operation at the end of the movie is to recover one of these.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Jordan discusses this with Senator DeHaven after DeHaven reveals she had never intended for Jordan to succeed in the program, and it was all just a ruse to score political points.
    DeHaven: The truth is, the choice isn't yours, and it isn't mine. American families are just not prepared to have their daughters and young mothers in harm's way.
    Jordan: You don't know that.
    DeHaven: Yes, I do. Roper, Paris, Gallup, all the polls, they all come back the same way.
    Jordan: What are you saying? That a woman's life is more valuable than a man's? That a woman's death is more hurtful than a man's?
    DeHaven: No politician can afford to let women come home in body bags, especially me.
  • Metaphorically True: Jordan cannot pick up Urgayle by herself, but her heroism inspires her squaddies to help get him to safety. This is enough for Urgayle to give his medal.
  • Multi-Take Cut: Used in the scene in which Jordan shaves her head.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. When Jordan moves into the male barracks, Cortez is disgusted when he finds a box of tampons.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "SUCK... MY... DICK!" Made into a Crowning Moment Of Awesome by the fact that a shorn-haired and yet STILL uber-beddable Demi Moore (yes, a woman) is shouting it — and into the face of a Bad Ass, Super Soldier of a NAVY SEAL who's acting as The Obi-Wan and had spent the last few minutes kicking the crap out of her.
  • Rape as Drama/Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: During the POW training, when Urgayle is brutally beating Jordan in front of the male trainees, he starts to cut off her pants as if he's about to rape her, simulating what would most likely happen if they were captured for real.
  • Sensitivity Training: Before the title character starts SEAL training, all of the instructors have to receive sensitivity training so they know not to sexually harass her.
  • Shower Scene: Jordan showers while Urgayle talks to her.
  • The Squadette: Jordan.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: When Lt. Blondell, Jordan's physician, asks her why she's going through the training.
    Blondell As a matter of fact, yes, I do ask them.
    Jordan And what do they say?
    Blondell Cause I get to blow shit up.
    Jordan Well, there you go.
  • Things Get Real
  • Torture Always Works: Not stated outright, but Urgayle mentions how waterboarding is a very effective interrogation technique while Jordan is having it done on her for a training exercise.
  • Training from Hell: Jordan experiences Navy SEAL training, which is generally considered among the toughest, if not the toughest, training in the US military, including actual tortures like waterboarding (so they can learn to withstand torture if they fall into enemy hands).
    • Truth in Television: SEREnote  school is universally reviled by everyone that goes through it and everyone that runs it, specifically because normal, reasonable circumstances are thrown out. The only rules are: nothing sexual, and the trainee can't be killed. Everything else is fair game. It messes with the trainees' heads (the thought that "They can't be allowed to do this" takes a while to go away), and the trainers' heads (much like the Stanford Prison Experiment, being given absolute control over another human being eventually results in some pretty horrendous behaviour).
  • Would Hit a Girl / Wouldn't Hit a Girl: During the POW training the interrogation instructor doesn't want to harm Jordan, but Urgayle, understanding the necessity, has no such reservations and proceeds to beat her mercilessly.

George of the JungleFilms of the 1990sGone Fishin'

alternative title(s): GI Jane
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