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What society would look like if men experienced street harassment

In this short film, men are the “oppressed majority.”


Audra Schroeder


Posted on Feb 6, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 7:07 pm CDT

What if we lived in a society where women held the power, and men were the ones constantly looking over their shoulder as they walked down the street? French filmmaker and actress Éléonore Pourriat’s 10-minute short Majorite Opprimee (Oppressed Majority) explores that very reversal.

The film was originally released in 2010, but Pourriat uploaded the subtitled English-language version to her YouTube page yesterday. We see a husband caring for his young child while his wife is at work, and enduring the indignity of a female jogger catcalling him as he pushes a stroller. She tells him to “keep smiling,” a common refrain of street harassers.

After more catcalling, he’s accosted by a group of young women, who assault him in broad daylight. When he reports it, a female police officer questions his story. He consciously pulls his shorts over his knees. When his wife shows up to take him home, he breaks down:

“I can’t take this fucking feminist society anymore.” 

Warning: Video contains some nudity.

The man’s complaint about “this fucking feminist society” could be seen as a dismissal of the movement, but on the Internet especially, where women’s voices are often blamed on the “downfall” of male-dominated spaces, this mindset is all too common. She also addresses the complicated relationship of equality within other cultures and religions. Pouriatt’s reversal is about inequality, but it’s also a snapshot of a society where we question the victim more than than the abuser, and where looking over our shoulders—on the street, online—is part of our daily routine, not a random occurrence. 

Screengrab via eleonorepourriat1/YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 6, 2014, 3:22 pm CST