This Searing Video Puts a Man Through the Everyday Sexism Wringer

Illustration for article titled This Searing Video Puts a Man Through the Everyday Sexism Wringer

The French have been killing it recently, not only when it comes to planting nuts gossip about a Beyoncé/President Obama affair, but also when it comes to portraying the everyday sexism that women face by putting men in our shoes for once.

In Majorité Oprimée (Oppressed Majority), a short film by Éléonore Pourriat, women treat a lone man in public with remarks that range from the condescending ("I should talk to your wife," says a neighbor, implying that she would better understand her complaints about their apartment building's upkeep) to the explicit ("Think I don't see you, shaking your ass in my face" a street harasser says to the man as he waits on his bike at a red light). The kicker is when he stands up to a group of girls harassing him outside his office and they sexually assault him. He then has to tell his story at the police station to an unsympathetic female officer.

The video really commits to the role reversal, depicting female joggers who get to run around in public with their shirts off, as well as a tragicomic scene where the man tells his friend that he looks like a child after succumbing to pressure to shave his beard. All of it makes for a provocative video showing how we wouldn't tolerate such systematic treatment of men in real life, so why do we tolerate it when it comes to women?

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I was really enjoying this until the blatant and ignorant criticism of Islam under the guise of criticizing sexism. In France there is a huge amount of racism against Muslims, and it is not uncommon for people to claim that the religion is inherently sexist and thus primitive while using the hijab as an example of how the religion oppresses women. It's absolutely astounding to me that the, video which started off clever and claiming to promote equality for oppressed individuals, would take such a turn and no one on here has batted an eyelash thus far. My stomach dropped when he encountered his child's caretaker because I had a feeling that I knew what was coming, given that this video is French and because of my knowledge of the political and social conflict surrounding this issue in France. What I did not expect was that I would be the first to notice.

Let me make this clear: wearing a hijab CAN be a woman's choice and it CAN be a symbol of independence. It is not inherently a mark of oppression if a woman is wearing a head scarf and it is horribly offensive to assume so. I'm disappointed that the article makes absolutely NO mention of this.