Friday, February 28, 2014

“Oppressed Majority” – Imagined female dominance goes viral

Can you picture a world where women run around topless, urinate in the street, whistle at and check out men, and men are left in charge of child minding? Not so easy to, is it? Which is why French actress, director and screenwriter Eleonoré Pourriat has made a short film entitled "Majorité Opprimée", or "Oppressed Majority", depicting just this setting. And the film is not only hilarious and candid, but thought-provoking and nerve-hitting.

The film, in French with English subtitles, follows an ordinary man, Pierre, through a day of sexist experiences. The switched angle to women objectifying men really hits home in realizing the everyday taunting women go through. The male protagonist takes his child to day-care and then on his way to work is leered at, subjected to cat calls, and even sexually assaulted by a group of women. The film is a complete eye-opener that will most definitely leave you feeling reflective.

The video was recorded in 2010 but uploaded to YouTube on 5th February this year. Since then it has gone viral with more than 5 million views. It’s being spread around the Net almost as a form of activism with women saying “Yes, this is what we go through!” Without painting females as victims, the film manages to portray sexism by not showing the issue how it is but by forcing men to look at their behaviour in a different – but perhaps not completely original – light.

Pourriat got the idea to make “Majorité Opprimée” when her husband was shocked to hear that she got yelled at in the street. The film’s exaggeration is also a tool in achieving the reaction that Pourriat was aiming for. But she was still shocked with the response she got for the film, having not expected it at all.

In light of the short film’s subject matter, it’s amazing that it has gone viral in such a short amount of time; most feminist films are overlooked and would probably never be discussed as luridly as this one. It’s certainly not a perfect or even brilliant piece of work, but it gets the message across.

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