It’s a man’s world, until it’s not. And nobody wins.
WATCH Try doubting everyday sexism after watching this video
The short is called Majorité Opprimée, ‘Oppressed Majority’, and 3 years later, there’s a reason why this 2014 French film is still going viral. It’s bloody brilliant.
The 10-minute production depicts a day in the life of Pierre, an ordinary guy in an unnamed Parisian suburb. Film director Eleonore Pourriat leads us through Pierre’s day, but there’s a twist. Going about his usual business, the realisation slowly creeps in that he isn’t just a house-husband, but that he’s living in a world where the stereotypical roles of men and women have been switched. In this new reverse-gender biased world, we watch our subject encounter prejudice and verbal abuse, struggle in a relationship in which he has little to no control, and become the victim of sexual assault.
But it is the ensuing victim blaming post Pierre’s assault that brings it all home.
“So often when women get assaulted, people say it’s their fault. Even close people. That’s what I wanted to say with this character,” Porriat told reporters at the time of the film’s release in 2014.
“It came from a personal experience. I was a woman. I was 30 years old and my husband didn’t believe that I was – I was not assaulted, but I got remarked on in the street often. He said, ‘Wow. That’s incredible.’ His surprise was the beginning of the idea for me. Sometimes men – it’s not their fault – they don’t imagine that women are assaulted even with words every day, with small, slight words. They can’t imagine that because they are not confronted with that themselves,” she explained.
Even more chilling is Pierre’s wife’s reaction to his assault. Held up in work meetings she was unable to rush to his side until much later on that night. “I couldn’t get out of the meeting … But I think I really knocked ’em dead,” she remarks almost brutally to her clearly shaken assaulted husband.
‘I wanted it to be not so realistic but frightening,’ Pourriat said of the film.
While the film was made five years ago, and won an award at a film festival in Kiev – it made little impact in France at the time. But with nearly 13 million views to dat, the video has gone well and truly viral and Pourriat has been inundated with messages from impressed fans, grateful viewers and harsh critics. Many of the more aggressive messages have been deleted, except one:
“I kept one though because really, you can’t believe it. Someone said: ‘More patronising feminist bullshit. Keep whining, bitches!’ When I read that, I was more convinced than ever that I have to continue to make films,” Pourriat said.
In a world without equality, no one wins.