Majorité Opprimée par Eleonore Pourriat

A few months ago, I wrote a piece on this blog entitled, The Day in the Life of Street Harassment in the South of France. This piece received many, many views, comments, likes, and reflections both on and off the blog. Curiously enough, the majority of the You’re-just-exaggerating-and-what-you’re-experiencing-isn’t-really-harassment-it’s-just-a-way-of-life-you-should-be-flattered-someone-thinks-you’re-so-sexy comments came from French men.

A few days ago, a French woman named Eleonore Pourriat produced a short, eleven minute film entitled Majorité Opprimée or Oppressed Majority which has quickly gone viral. (This film is in French with English subtitles, so all curious readers can watch.)

Pourriat quotes,

It came from my experience as a woman over the past 40 years. And from the incredulity of men when I told them about the comments and behavior of some men on the street, in high school, in public transportation, everywhere really.

Looks like I’m not alone.

In this alternative reality, the majority of women jog shirtless and are the “providers” for a “traditional” family. Men are expected to stay at home, take care of the kids, and are also subjected to sexual harassment. During the man’s errands, women whistle at him and call him “Cutie,” or “Honey,” and tell him to, “Keep Smiling.” In this film, the man is catcalled, assaulted in an alleyway, mistreated by the police to whom he is giving his report, and finally slut shamed by his wife. There is also an exchange in conversation between two men in regards to one man wearing a hijab, which is common amongst the Islamic population here in the south (yep, that is switched around too.) Some of us (myself included) felt this was one of the only “controversial” parts of the film, as women have the choice to wear a hijab if she chooses. The reason it was added, I believe, is that France outlaws the hijab in public schools, where as many women Islamic communities here in the south wear the hijab, so it’s a very stressful situation for many females here. The impression I get here in France is that all non-Muslims believe that they know about Islamic culture and what is best for Muslim women. However, I am not Muslim, so I do not want to assume or make any sort of comments towards a very sensitive subject about which I do not completely understand. The only other detail about this film that I didn’t really like were the fact that all of the assaultees were (perhaps stereotypically), women of color.

The film could be triggering, but it really does get the point across. Ironically, this video takes place in the South of France.

Again, this film  is meant to make you think. One thing that irks me is when men who do not catcall women get all defensive saying that this video or others like this is sexist only towards one gender. Well unfortunately the VAST MAJORITY of victims are women being harassed by men, and since men have the privilege in society, we need them to step up to other men and change this attitude and mentality from “it’s just a part of life,” to “this is absolutely unacceptable.”

If you’re curious, my friend Quiche Lauren also did her own take on this video and topic, which you can view here.



16 thoughts on “Majorité Opprimée par Eleonore Pourriat

  1. Very interesting, the film. You know, my job requires that I stay in hotels at least once a week in cities all over the US and Canada. I can list on one hand the ones where I feel comfortable walking outside alone. So if my collegues are not with me I tend to stay in the hotel. It may just be my perception, because I have never been seriously harassed, but perceptions are a measure of reality in their way I think. My male collegues have no qualms about going out for a run in any of these cities, while I feel restricted to taking my exercise by walking up and down the stairs or jogging in place in front of the tv ( hotel gyms are notoriously full of strange men before whom I will not wear workout clothes!) So anyway I don’t have experience with this in Europe but I’d say it’s not uncommon in the US. Strangely, I feel that it is less prevalent in my Canadian destinations. I couldn’t tell you exactly why. If I don’t go out in those cities it’s usually because it’s February and the temps are sub-zero!

    1. Thanks for commenting! The video is supposed to raise awareness especially in the eyes of men about what women struggle with everyday (ie: going out alone at night.) women have to worry about things like rape and being attacked whereas men don’t, so many don’t realize it is something with which we struggle. It is supposed to draw awareness to things such as male privilege and the idea that a simple “whistle” or cat call or running shirtless are all aspects they need to be aware of

      1. I hope some of them will start thinking about this and start teaching their sons! That’s where things can really change, with the young people. Nobody should have to fear simply walking to the store.

      1. Well then I will put it to you like this. I will never hit a woman. Until she pulls a box cutter on me or bites my dick. I’m going to beat her ass till the meat shows. Respect woman. Protect yourself from the crazy bitches.

    1. I read your comment several times but chose not to post it due to the frequent f-bombs throughout the post. You believe there are too many “isms” and political correctness… Good to know!

  2. I’m so happy this short is out there. It’s far from perfect like you mentioned, such as the Muslim man wearing a hijab and the fact that nearly all the women inflicting harassment were immigrants or of color. But it definitely gives men a sense of what it’s like to be cat-called and objectified as we walk down the street. I was always way more careful of what I wore when I was in Spain, then here in the USA. Though now that I think of it, in Spain the cat-calling is fairly normal (unfortunately). You might get an “Hola guapa” but you will rarely get followed or insulted by men. You also get openly stared at, but EVERYONE does this–men, women, young, old (the old abuela stares are the worst! They always look so disapproving of everyone) so it’s not really harassment, that’s just part of the culture. I probably could have taken more risks and not been so conservative in the way I dressed.

    But in France, I feel like it’s very different.

    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment! You make some good points. The thing that is interesting is that it may be “apart of their culture,” but in my opinion it’s still street harassment. The French have the same mentality. They don’t consider whistling or cat calling to be harassment even though it is… It’s just not physical (so in many people’s eyes, not relevant or important or triggering or real), which is what I try to address in my posts and also what this film tries to do.

      The only place in Spain where I visited was Barcelona, and the only place I was really trolled was the Beach. It was so annoying that I finally left. But on the streets it was a lot less. But yeah, in regards to France, I feel like it is much worse in the south than it is in the north (I’ve lived in both areas and I never had the same encounters in Normandy.)

      Thanks for reading!

      1. I think up north, there is less racial diversity in France. I’m not saying less racial diversity = less to little harassment but I feel that there is a correlation (so not implying causation, let’s get this right!) between street harassment and with communities that have more racial diversity.

        But I realize this doesn’t apply to everywhere–I work in one of the most diverse cities in the world (NYC) and I have never felt harassed, unsafe, or been pickpocketed (obviously this was a different story in the 1980s but NYC has changed radically since then). I may have walked through some more sketchy neighborhoods and definitely got some looks because it was very obvious I didn’t belong but nobody bothered me or gave me trouble. Obviously this is all anecdotal and all chalked up to personal experience so I can’t speak for everyone. But that has been my experience.

  3. One of the comments I saw on tumblr was in regards to the interaction between the protagonist and the Muslim man. The comment interpreted it as a subtle criticism of White Feminism. After viewing the film, I agree.

    I’m disheartened to hear how many men have dismissed your experiences. I thought your blog post on street harassment was excellent and very accurate.

    1. Thanks Belle! And don’t worry, there’s much more support than there is denial, but hopefully this video will continue to be spread around and help french men to see women’s point of view a bit better 🙂

      I also agree with the hijab scene. As I said, it’s just something i do not know enough about to make a generalization or in-depth comment. For the moment in the south I see these women as women- as people- too maybe people cannot see past the hijab 🙂

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