What It Feels Like for a Woman

MAJORITÉ OPPRIMÉE
Eléonore Pourriat, 2010

Majorité opprimée shows a day in the life of Pierre (played by Pierre Bénézit, a young Gérard Depardieu look-alike). Pierre is a househusband in a seemingly parallel universe. He tends to his and his wife’s son; Pierre basically does what every woman “should” do. Later in the film, he is verbally and physically assaulted by women.

The film’s final scene shows Pierre’s wife, Marion (Marie-Lorna Vaconsin), walking on an empty and (almost) dark highway, fearing and hearing the threat of danger — that’s exactly how it feels like for a woman traversing a seemingly endless road of patriarchy and sexism.

Pourriat is spot-on in portraying the everyday struggles of a woman; only this time she does it in reverse. As a woman, I found the film genuine. It was able to accurately portray the pressures women encounter every single day of their existence: how you have to turn a deaf ear to the wolf whistles and other forms of verbal abuse, how you have to worry about your safety when going home by yourself at night, how you are considered “rape-able” just because of the clothes you wear, and how you are trivialized as the “weaker” gender.

Although Bénézit’s performance is (deliberately) comical especially during the earlier part of the film, 2010’s Majorité opprimée — internationally known as Oppressed Majority — is serious at conveying its message: respect for women.

The film is also strong in terms of its dialogue and narrative. (If the line “What did that fatherfucker say?” is not strong enough, I don’t know what.) So strong that it provoked a bunch of opposing voices, including a (subconsciously) misogynist-bordering-on-idiotic† article by political “activist” Richard Seymour. I forgive him. Obviously, he’s never been a woman. Most men don’t know how life is like for a woman; some might know, while most probably don’t know how it feels like to be a woman.

What Seymour didn’t see — or probably refuse to see — is Pourriat’s simple message: this is how life is like for a woman regardless of her race, ethnicity, and social status.

An important film that secures its place in history, Majorité opprimée is a thought-provoking statement against the male chauvinist society. But will it put an end to misogyny? Probably not. Misogyny is as old as prostitution. It’s been there since the time of Jesus. Heck, even the Bible marginalizes women.

The film doesn’t blame men nor does it demand for equality. What it strives for is respect — respect for human existence, may they be male or female.

Majorité opprimée might not eradicate sexism and violence against women, but it can be a wake-up call for the slumbering passengers of a sexist train of society.

The film challenges male chauvinist society’s “accepted” norms. That’s why it went viral.

Majorité opprimée, the film:

†Ignoring the main premise of a story is just politically crétin.

DISCLAIMER: No copyright infringement intended. I don’t own or claim to own any of the photos used.



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