In Depth

Oppressed Majority: how does it feel to be a woman? – video

French film that turns everyday sexism on its head draws five million viewers on YouTube

A FRENCH film that portrays how a man might experience sexual assault in a matriarchal society has gone viral this week with more than five million views on YouTube. 

Majorité Opprimé or Oppressed Minority, created by scriptwriter and actress Eléonore Pourriat, is set in a French town where male and female roles have been switched.

The film is light-hearted at the beginning but turns gradually darker. Women urinate in the street, jog bare-chested and harass men about their appearance.

The main character, Pierre, is shouted at by women in the street, sexually assaulted by a group of girls at knifepoint and later treated with disdain as he reports the assault to a female police officer. Even his wife is scornful.

The ten-minute film was originally made in 2010 and won an award at a film festival in Kiev but went largely unnoticed until about a week ago when a version with English subtitles was picked up by English-language sites. It has been largely praised on Twitter, with many describing it as a clever illustration of what everyday sexism feels like for a woman.

"It is astonishing, just incredible that interest in my film has suddenly exploded in this way," Pourriat tells The Independent. "Obviously, I have touched a nerve. Women in France, but not just in France, feel that everyday sexism has been allowed to go on for too long."

Pourriat, who says the storyline is rooted in her own experience, puts the film's recent success down to a new climate where women are fighting more than ever for equality.

"In France, five years ago people asked me if being a feminist was so contemporary. Today no one asks. The feminist fight is more important now. Five years ago I felt like an alien. Now my film is making a buzz because rights are in danger. You see that in Spain with abortion rights. The whole thing about marriage for all, the homophobia and sexism. It is like a black tide today in France."

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