Oppressed Majority

This is a short film directed and produced by French filmmaker Eleonore Pourriat. The film features a matriarchal world, turning society on its head with women being presented as the dominant gender. It was originally produced in 2009 and entered into a short film festival where it was praised and won an award. Pourriat was disappointed at the lack of impact the film made at the time but found that after uploading the film to YouTube earlier this year it accumulated 2.3 million views after only one week. It has now been viewed 9.2 million times since its launch on YouTube on February 5 2014.

This film’s main purpose is to educate the audience by identifying the sexist attitudes toward women by subjecting a male to everyday sexism. Pourriat expressed that she wished the audience to be scared after viewing the film. This is achieved through the presentation of sexist attitudes and highlights how women can brush small things off as “normal” but when a male is subjected to the same treatment the audience sees how large an issue sexism is.

When the film first begins there is no explanation of what it will be about or indication that it is a “woman’s world”. This makes it more confronting for the viewer when an old lady continues to speak over the main character and finishes with “I should really be talking to your wife…” to which he responds “Okay…”. She gives him a withering look before turning around and striding away without a farewell. The audience is again confronted by this “new world” when a woman is returning from a run, topless, and stands in the door before telling the main character to “Keep smiling, honey!” This is no “new world”, this is the society we live in only a man is subjected to sexism rather than a woman.

The relatability of the film is why it has been such a success over the past few months. It has identified major flaws in society and its attitude toward women by flipping genders the film and bringing to light many of the issues that women face on a daily basis. This has fuelled debate in the media and online and inspired others to continue with gender flipping. The Guardian’s Leah Green turned the tables on sexism in the real world to see how men react to blatantly sexist situations. She used real stories submitted by women and men to EverydaySexism.

A fascinating point to consider is why “Oppressed Majority” is making an impact now when it did not when it was originally released? The creator believes the hype surrounding the film is due to rights regarding women being threatened around the world. Spain’s Government has plans to restrict women’s access to abortionIndia’s rape culture is being played out on the world stage and England has been labeled the most sexist country in the world. Even in Australia we are seeing inequalities with a distinct lack of women in government, refugee women who are kept in detention are forced to ask for sanitary products one or two at a time and the media are underreporting domestic violence. All of these elements and many more have impacted on the perception of equality and whether society has truly moved forward.

Further Reading: 

Real Everyday Sexism

Viral French Short Film Reverses Gender Roles In An Oppressed Society

The Everyday Sexism Project

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