Rape-is-normal is the predominant message received by any woman who spends any time at all either online or living, you know, anywhere. Which is why feminists of a certain stripe have been known, from time to time, to fantasize that if men could experience harassment on the International Female Scale (i.e., incessant, daily, and potentially life-threatening), if only for a little while, they might have a bit more compassion for the revolution. Instead of being all “rape is fucking hilarious” and shit:
But I digress.
This week’s film presents the sexual assault from the point of view of a male victim in a woman-controlled world (the violence isn’t explicit, but it’s explicitly implied, so it could be a little triggery). Proclaimed by the Guardian as having gone viral in less than a week, “Oppressed Majority” is 10-minute film by Eleonore Pourriat that portrays a day in the life of a white dude living in an oppressive matriarchy. We watch his personal sovereignty erode away little by little as he gets condescended to by a neighbor woman, patronized by a sweaty close-talking bare-chested woman jogger, wolf-whistled, harassed with obscenities at a stoplight, assaulted at knifepoint by a gang of lady thugs (who bite his dick!), mocked by a woman cop at the station house, and accused of asking for it by his unsympathetic successful businessman wife. There’s also a scene where he attempts, white-feminist-style, to hip his servile male child-care worker to the fact that he shouldn’t let his wife force him to wear a burka.
There are worse ways to spend five minutes than to ponder how Pourriat’s violent dystopia, in which the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women are regendered and perpetrated against a hapless dude, at first reads like an absurd fiction. You just can’t conceive of a social order where dudes are required to cover their entire bodies in a sack or are chased down the street by gangs of white chicks threatening to bite their dicks off. Then, because you’re no deluded dishrag, it registers that this absurd, violent dystopia is not only real, it is your normal life. Yick.
As women we tend to brush off our daily doses of sexism and harassment, rationalizing them as no big whoop, or just another little annoyance, or the cost of doing business. We’ve all internalized these hatey, rapey messages and, weighing the possible repercussions against personal autonomy, often decide that we have no choice but to suffer in silence. But a little regendering, like in this film, can be illuminating and inspiring, even if you’re a jaundiced old professional patriarchy-blamer trained to spot daily misogynies hiding in plain sight.
T-shirt photo via Huffington Post