Viral French Short Film Reverses Gender Roles In An Oppressed Society


This is a must-see! A director and screenwriter from France, Eléonore Pourriat, made a short film called ‘Oppressed Majority’ (“Majorité Opprimée” in french) five years ago and released it in February 2014 online finally, but only in French. It did reasonably well, but a couple of months later when she added the English translation, it exploded!

“When I made it I hoped there would be an interest like this,” she says. “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.”

All of a sudden people around the world were able to watch it and understand what was going on in the film, and to date it has over 9 million views! Gotta love the power of social media. These days you don’t have to try and get your film into a movie theater to get that many eyeballs on a film.

The film basically sees gender roles reversed in an oppressed society. The protagonist is a male stay-at-home dad who we see walking around the town doing various activities, being wolf-whistled-at by women, being yelled at by other women on the street in a manner that is quite obscene, and even being sexually assaulted by a group of aggressive young women.

Every scenario the gentleman is in shows him in a state of oppression more and more as the film progresses. As you are watching it seems as if what you are seeing is a little far-fetched, but the truth is that these things happen to women everyday.


This is Eléonore’s first short film, and it has certainly made its mark on the world. “I was raised with the idea that men and women were equal,” said Ms. Pourriat, 42, to the New York Times. “And when I grew up, I saw that they weren’t, even if there are laws saying they are.”

The craziest thing about this film is that it fared better around the rest of the world than it did in France. While there have been some negative criticisms from both men and women in France, Eléonore, who is the mother of a teenage girl and boy, knew what she was creating was for a noble purpose. She wants her daughter to recognize the types of pressures girls face from men as they grow up.

“I can see that in her generation boys try to impose their point of view on girls,” she said.

In the film, after the main guy gets assaulted and tries to report it to the police, he is told by the female officer that perhaps he was exaggerating the fact that one of his attackers threatened to “bite of his testicles”. Even when his wife comes to the hospital to pick him up she is very cold and distant, and more interested in talking about her merger at work.


“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.” said the filmmaker.

“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.”

As usual, Pourriat has received the predictable sexist feedback expected from a youtube audience, but it is not something that deters her in her mission to expose sexism in new ways. The fact that this short film has gone viral all over the world is a testament that women are looking for voices and platforms where they can share their concerns and struggles. The fight is not over, oppression does exist. But being willing to make a noise about it, despite what opposition may come your way is a step forward.


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