Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

G.I. Jane: What Are Rules of the Game?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

G.I. Jane: What Are Rules of the Game?

Article excerpt

There is that moment in "G.I. Jane" when a battered and bruised, buzz-cut and buff Demi Moore walks into the ladies room at the local bar. She has just survived another brutal test in training to become the first female Navy SEAL, and she looks it.

Moore is washing her hands and basking in her acceptance as one of the boys, when a civilian woman takes one look at her bashed face and says to her, "It's none of my business, honey, but I think you should leave the bastard."

It is one of those wonderful misperceptions that says it all. The woman assumes that Demi has taken it from a man when she has taken it like a man. What looks like a victim, feels like a victory. This was just one of the colliding female images that sped across my own internal screen as this movie rushed to its predictable conclusion. Tough. Vulnerable. What is it that we admire now in women? What do we want for our daughters? The ability to play by and win by the male rules? To write their own rules? To be equal? And to what or whom? We have been through weeks of transforming attention to womanhood. From Di the death to Di the CD, we've seen an astounding number of women who identified with the post-Prince Charming life of this young mother. We've heard the word icon - the symbols for programs on the computer desktop and for gods in a church altar - used to describe her. In the midst of all the psycho that has been babbled since her tragic death, we heard repeatedly how the world's reaction signals the power of an emerging female principle. It marks the death of stoicism and the takeover of sensitivity. The Mars of the stiff upper lip is giving way to the Venus of expressed feelings. Yet in the same month, Demi has been the box office hit, and a new class of women at the last male educational bastions of the Virginia Military Institute and The Citadel has chosen to test their endurance in the rat lines and hell weeks. In another hint at the duality, two of the original four women at The Citadel "left the bastard" last year alleging sexual harassment. Two others go on. Which are the survivors, which the heroines? What do we make of the woman suspended from VMI for slugging an upperclassman this year? …

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