'Majorité Opprimée': It's a woman's world

A French feminist dared to depict what life would be like for an ordinary man in a female-dominated world. Now the short film has gone viral, finds John Lichfield

Paris

Imagine a world where it is the women who pee in the street, jog bare-chested and harass and physically assault the men. Such a world has just gone viral on the internet. A nine-minute satirical film made by Eleonoré Pourriat, the French actress, script-writer and director, has clocked up hundreds of thousands of views in recent days.

The movie, Majorité Opprimée or "Oppressed Majority", was made in 2010. It caused a flurry of interest when it was first posted on YouTube early last year. But now it's time seems to have come. "It is astonishing, just incredible that interest in my film has suddenly exploded in this way," Ms Pourriat told 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."

The star of the short film is Pierre, who is played very convincingly by Pierre Bénézit. He is a slightly gormless stay-at-home father, who spends a day besieged by the casual or aggressive sexism of women in a female-dominated planet. The film, in French with English subtitles, begins in a jokey way and turns gradually, and convincingly, nasty. It is not played for cheap laughs. It has a Swiftian capacity to disturb by the simple trick of reversing roles.

Pierre, pushing his baby-buggy, is casually harassed by a bare-breasted female jogger. He meets a male, Muslim babysitter, who is forced by his wife to wear a balaclava in public. He is verbally abused - "Think I don't see you shaking your arse at me?" - by a drunken female down-and-out. He is sexually assaulted and humiliated by a knife-wielding girl gang. ("Say your dick is small or I'll cut off your precious jewels.")

He is humiliated a second time by a policewoman, who implies that he invented the gang assault. "Daylight and no witnesses, that's strange," she says. As she takes Pierre's statement, the policewoman patronises a pretty, young policeman. "I need a coffee, cutie."

Pierre's self-important working wife arrives to collect him. She comforts him at first, calling him "kitten" and "pumpkin". When he complains that he can no longer stand the permanent aggression of a female-dominated society, she says that he is to blame because of the way he dresses: in short sleeves, flip-flops and Bermudas.

A scene from 'Opressed Majority' by Eleonoré Pourriat that has now gone viral A scene from 'Opressed Majority' by Eleonoré Pourriat that has now gone viral At the second, or third, time of asking, interest in Ms Pourriat's highly charged little movie has exploded in recent days on social media and on feminist and anti-feminist websites on both sides of the Channel and on both sides of the Atlantic. Some men refuse to see the point. "Sorry, but I would adore to live such a life," said one French male blogger. "To be raped by a gang of girls. Great! That's every man's fantasy."

Ms Pourriat, 42, acts and writes scripts for comedy movies in France. This was her first film as director. "It is rooted absolutely in my own experience as a woman living in France," she tells me. "I think French men are worse than men elsewhere, but the incredible success of the movie suggests that it is not just a French problem.

"What angers me is that many women seem to accept this kind of behaviour from men or joke about it. I had long wanted to make a film that would turn the situation on its head.

"It is important to use humour, or derision, to hook the audience, but it's not intended as a funny film. It's a very serious subject."

Ms Pourriat is now making another short movie in similar style, called Tous à Poil - or "All Bare". The subject is the growing trend among girls and young women in France for full depilation of their private parts, which Ms Pourriat believes is "imposed" by young men as a way of reasserting gender domination.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform