Arts, Culture & Media

In this movie, it's the men who are constantly harassed by dominant women

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A scene from the film "Oppressed Majority." The protagonist, Pierre, is an ordinary guy who goes about his regular day, but things are different in his world. He gets harassed by women and is even sexually assaulted at knife point.

French filmmaker Eléonore Pourriat released her film "Majorité Opprimée" or "Oppressed Majority" five years ago, and it quickly won an award in Ukraine. But otherwise it got little attention.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

That is, until just recently, when she uploaded it to YouTube and it went viral. At the time of this posting, it's been viewed more than six million times.

The film is about a man named Pierre, who goes about his normal life in a world that's dominated by women. In this movie, it's the women who harass men.

In one scene, a woman jogs topless. In another, Pierre gets sexual comments from a woman, while waiting at the traffic light.

What may be humorous at first, turns tragic when a group of women sexually assault Pierre at knife point.

He then has to go to the police and report it. The female officer doubts his story.

"I wanted to begin the film with just slight remarks, things that aren't usually noticed by men and it [gets worse], it goes from laughter to a kind of fright at the end," she says.

Pourriat says that using humor can be more effective in drawing attention to subjects such as sexual harassment.

"At first, it's funny, yes, people laugh when they see a [female] topless jogger, for example, in the street. But then we start to notice them," she says.

Pourriat made the film in 2010. A French TV channel purchased the rights to it and so she wasn't able to post it online for two years.

After those two years, she decided to post it for viewers to watch. She says she did that because "there weren't that many festivals and channels that were interested in a feminist, militant film."

It was last January when the video started to get attention in France. Then she posted the movie with English subtitles, and it went viral.

Pourriat says there might be many reasons why it has received so much attention. 

She says she has received messages from women from various parts of the world supporting her film. There has also been those who didn't like the idea and sent her hateful messages. But overall, she says the feedback has been very positive.

"There's sexism in all levels of society," she says, adding that in many places around the world, women are seen as second class.

Pourriat says she got the idea for her film from her own everyday life and what she was witnessing around her.

The "Oppressed Majority" is dedicated to Aurélie B.,* who was the daughter of a close friend of Pourriat.

She was killed by her ex-boyfriend and Pourriat says it was important that she dedicate the film to this woman who "died because of sexism and violence."

*Update: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Aurélie B.'s name. We regret the error.

Warning: The video below contains graphic scenes and may not be suitable for some viewers.

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