How Women Experience The World

women's lives thru men's eyesIn case you’ve missed it, the video below shows the life of a woman — you might say an extremely bad day in the life of a woman — through the body of a man.

In this gender reversal you’ll see things, ranging from a passively obedient man, to a man being dismissed (men shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads about important stuff) to sexual harassment and assault.

It all may be more jarring when a man experiences it. Partly because we can grow numb to things we are used to seeing and hearing about. So this video breaks the taken-for-grantedness of it. And, since these things don’t typically affect men, they don’t really have to think about it. 

While women are not sexually harassed and assaulted every day, they can worry – and have haunted visions of it, as they carefully watch their step — in their everyday lives.

Trigger warning: sexual violence. And NSFW (may not be safe for work).

Thanks to Upworthy for sharing.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on February 12, 2014, in feminism, gender, men, objectification, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Quite an eye-opener…I guess living in a matriarchy wouldn’t be as nice as I’ve imagined…

    • Guess not.

      Patriarchy is also associated with violence. Where women and men are both valued you have low rates of violence. I’ll write on that soon.

      I’m for equality. Not matriarchy or patriarchy.

  2. Gives us a powerful view of our view, otherwise so invisible.

  3. That’s excellent. There are doubtless MRA’s busy with this saying this is an expression of the feminist agenda, but it should speak well to anyone who isn’t hopelessly misogynist.

  4. I’m struck by how as a viewer- watching all this happen to men was more disturbing because, I’m realizing, I’m so used to seeing it happen to women that I’ve become desensitized to that. So interesting what the eye gets used to so that it doesn’t always see what’s wrong. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Very moving. If it was men, who were running in the street top-naked, peeing in the alley, and insulting other gender, I could have seen this as some kind of a typical movie, but since things were all opposite, I felt strong feeling of uncomfortableness and strangeness. This clearly points out that Im taking my privilege as man as granted and internalizing the gender differences between men and women. The whole world might look completely different if I criticize every “taken-for-grantedness” !

  6. I think this is a really good idea.

    Its interesting to see things reversed. We like in a world built on imagery, that’s often been created by men, and this is a fresh take on gender roles. It makes me think of the roles we have on women and men. And the stereotypes and assumptions about them too.

    I don’t know many women who can say they haven’t felt scared of violence because of being a women. The way this role reversal was done made a lot of sense of things. Like even that a topless women in public would be objectified as relating to sex but men walk around with shirts all the time. Or that wives have to listen to their husbands because of the role they play as wives. The reality that has been created isn’t an equal one.

    In women’s studies they mention a theory that there is missing information about women. I think this is true because I see how women are objectified and know how they have been treated and still are treated. They way women have been defined in the past can relate more to fantasy or poor logic from men then anything that has to do with my life. Like women are “earth mothers” or “women are defective men” -Aristotle.

    This film is an eye opener about objectification. It changes perception. Obviously exploring gender roles of real life. I’m glad its a thing in the world because we are shaped by our world.

  7. A powerful video. I wanted to comment on the order the police officer barks at our protagonist as she unravels her report: “Don’t be aggressive,” she snaps. In our world, aggressiveness is generally a masculine, dominant, and to some degree desirable trait, but in the alternate universe of the film, it’s still clearly associated with men, but (probably because of this association!) is considered interruptive–it’s something women (like this officer who by all means should be aiming to help the victim) don’t want to deal with.

    Analyzing this small detail, the takeaway is that any dominant population controls the “normal” frame of reference through which an oppressed population is scrutinized. In the fictional world, because women possess social power, they are allowed to define their own characteristics (lack of aggression) as ideal, while in our world men can prize aggression/assertion because under the patriarchy they get to dictate our cultural values. Alternately, the male standard has the privilege to favor “reason” over “emotion”–thereby narcissistically idealizing the traits generally possessed by masculine people (i.e. themselves) and debasing those typically had by more feminine individuals, respectively.

    That’s possibly reading way too far into one short line of this film, but that’s what remained with me most distinctly after viewing it.

  8. This is so accurate. The video highlights the inequality women go through on a daily basis, and how absurd it would be if it was the other way around.
    One thing that stood out to me, and holds true in our society amongst women, is the inability for women to notice particular signs of control and oppression. When Nassar was questioned about his vail, he remained timid, passive, and ultimately had no concrete opinion coming from his own perspective. Regardless if he liked the hijab or not, it was astonishing to see him merely echo his wife’s voice in submission.
    Another moment in the short film that I found particularly important was when the woman was asking the man for a blow job. It is unbelievable how men will make remarks similar to this one, yet it is expected for women to remain passive and salient. If not, she is asking for it.
    When the societal-constructed gender roles are reversed, it is truly eye opening and insightful.

  9. This video has been a favorite of mine since I watched it when it was first released. Everything in this film is spot on about the way women are treated in many societies. The scene in the police station dominated the role reversal in every part of the scene. Firstly, the set up of characters- police chief being female along with the rest of the police officers being female. This speaks to the reality of the inequality in the law enforcement that is ran by mostly men. The only man in that office, besides the main character, is the office assistant which is also a job that in reality is expected to be filled by a woman.

    One critique to this post would have to be about the author’s statement that, “While women are not sexually harassed and assaulted every day…” I think this statement ignores the true facts that women ARE sexually harassed and assaulted on a daily basis which is the cause of the constant anxiety that women feel out in society.

    I think this is an extremely important video for mostly men to experience because it showcases the objectification of women that goes unnoticed by most people and that is accepted in society. I sat a male friend of mine down and after watching it, his eyes were bulged and mouth agape. He explained that these male tendencies to objectify women, even something as small as checking every women out as they pass by, has become almost second nature.

    • Well, I wrote that women may not be sexually harassed or assaulted on a daily basis because I’m not. I don’t think most of my friends are either. But it can be in the back of my mind every day– Worries about it.

  10. It is a very interesting, short but detailed video which illustrates gender inequality by reversed gender stereotypes. In the video, a house husband was taunted and insulted by a neighbor due economic dependence which puts him as being inferior to his wife. Furthermore, it also demonstrated that the eternity of gender biases is reinforced by the peer. He is being orally and physically abused and assaulted and at the law enforcement agency one of the police officers shows no sympathy for him. And also, religion and common law have played an important role in define the gender role norms. In the reality, it implies that gender inequality has deeply rooted in society and has been used to rationalize as a common sense.

  11. This short film was very well done & quite an eye-opener for sure. I remember talking about this very topic in my English class & with friends. About how, as a woman, you have to watch your back at every moment, especially when you go out at night. It doesn’t really matter what kind of woman you are, you grow up knowing that you have to watch your step or else something will happen because men could not help themselves. I also remember when I used to dress more feminine in high school, I would be walking home from school & would get honked or whistled at from a wide age range of guys. I wasn’t wearing anything skimpy or revealing (not that that should warrant rude attention either), but I was not seeking out such attention & remember how uncomfortable & degrading it felt. Some guys would even pull over & I’d just walk into the closest store in order to seek shelter from these creeps. What’s sad is that until it was brought up & talked about, I hadn’t realized that it was such a deeply unconscious process, but something I considered throughout my life, on a seemingly daily basis. It’s sad that I can’t just see a strange guy on the street & assume friendliness/ innocence as my first instinct. I don’t know that my perspective will change much, but being made aware of it has made me think twice & to try my best to give the benefit of doubt. My better senses still tell me not to ever let my guard down too much though. Nothing too bad has happened to me, but I’d prefer there not to be a first time concerning that area of my life.

  12. This short film was very well done & quite an eye-opener for sure. I remember talking about this very topic in my English class & with friends. About how, as a woman, you have to watch your back at every moment, especially when you go out at night. It doesn’t really matter what kind of woman you are, you grow up knowing that you have to watch your step or else something will happen because men could not help themselves. I also remember when I used to dress more feminine in high school, I would be walking home from school & would get honked or whistled at from a wide age range of guys. I wasn’t wearing anything skimpy or revealing (not that that should warrant rude attention either), but I was not seeking out such attention & remember how uncomfortable & degrading it felt. Some guys would even pull over & I’d just walk into the closest store in order to seek shelter from these creeps. What’s sad is that until it was brought up & talked about, I hadn’t realized that it was such a deeply unconscious process, but something I considered throughout my life, on a seemingly daily basis. It’s sad that I can’t just see a strange guy on the street & assume friendliness/ innocence as my first instinct. I don’t know that my perspective will change much, but being made aware of it has made me think twice & to try my best to give the benefit of doubt. My better senses still tell me not to ever let my guard down too much though. Nothing too bad has happened to me, but I’d prefer there not to be a first time concerning that area of my life.

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