Netflix’s French Rom-Com “I’m Not an Easy Man” Tackles Sexism So Powerfully

What if men got catcalled on the streets while women were praised endlessly?

What if men were sexually harassed by the most powerful female CEOs?

What if men were pressured to exercise, shave, and dress well to satisfy the female gaze?

French director Éleonore Pourriat shows us exactly what such a society would look like in her brilliant movie, I’m Not an Easy Man, set in Paris. She imagines a world ruled by the matriarchy, where men are pressured to comply with unrealistic beauty standards and to take care of their house and kids while women go out to work. She even goes as far as portraying a masculinist movement of men demanding gender equality to the women who rule the country. In I’m Not an Easy Man, women are the hunters and men are the prey.

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Protagonist Damien is uncomfortable as he is forced to dress for the female gaze.

The movie’s name is a reference to the notion of an “easy woman” – a promiscuous woman ready to jump in the arms of any man who is willing to take her. I’m Not an Easy Man tells the story of “a shameless chauvinist,” Damien, who “gets a taste of his own medicine when he wakes up in a world dominated by women and locks horns with a powerful female author, Alexandra.

The movie truly begins when misogynistic womanizer Damien walks into a pole, faints, and is taken to the hospital by a team of female firefighters. From that point on, he realizes that the tables have turned and that men are the targets in a women’s world. You can watch the trailer here.

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Alexandra talking about her new book with her publisher.

By flipping gender roles, I’m Not an Easy Man makes it easier to spot problematic behaviors that are so often normalized in our society. When watching the movie, you may be shocked by all that is inflicted upon men, only to realize afterward that this is what women go through every single day.

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Men’s rights/masculinist march in Paris.

I’m Not an Easy Man addresses inequality in the workplace through a scene of a female boss pressuring her employee into sex in exchange for helping him climb the corporate ladder. The movie also tackles sexism in a very intimate way by showing us how sexism sneaks into our bedsheets. In I’m Not an Easy Man, women often disregard their partner’s needs to focus on their personal pleasure and stop giving the men attention right after they reach orgasm. Men are left hanging alone and feel used and uncared for. Doesn’t that remind you of the traditional straight sex?

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Alexandra and Damien in bed.

Some might say that I’m Not an Easy Man is not entirely political because it is also a love story. However, Damien and Alexandra’s relationship is political too. Through their scenes together, we get an interesting perspective on gender and power dynamics in heterosexual couples. It then leads us to think about how much sexism we are willing to accept in our relationships, whether they be romantic or platonic. Or, as this article puts it, “It’s a Netflix-and-chill flick that just might make you do a double-take on how you chill and who you do it with.”

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Alexandra fixing her car in downtown Paris.

Indeed, gender roles have an incredibly toxic influence on Damien and Alexandra’s relationship.

When Damien explains what his world – a men’s world – is like, she laughs in his face and denies the truth. She tries to make him happy by offering to go shopping with him, because what else could a man aspire to do? She gaslights Damien into thinking he is dramatic and even makes a book about him being a masculinist, and she does so behind his back! Surely, the worst part of suffering from any form of injustice is denouncing it only to find out that no one believes you or is willing to help you – not even your romantic partner.

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Damien’s best friend putting on an eye mask in his home.

But once again, it’s not just Damien’s romantic relationship that is rotten by sexism – his friendships are affected by the matriarchy’s rules. Damien’s best friend, Christophe, who fits society’s mold of what it means to be a man, doesn’t understand his masculinist views and why he is so reluctant to do what is expected of him.

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Christophe’s wife confessing to Damien about an affair.

To sum it up, the movie is both infuriating and hilarious to watch. As women, we are frustrated to recognize how much we put up with, but amused by the reaction of the male protagonist to the nonsense that is gender inequality. I’m Not an Easy Man is especially helpful to understand how sexism relentlessly impacts every part of our life and moment of our day as women. Not an hour goes by where you aren’t somehow reminded of the place that the patriarchy wants you to occupy in society.

Although the incomplete ending leaves us hanging and wanting to know more about the characters’ futures, the movie is worth watching for its stunning mirror effect of power dynamics, which makes sexism easier to explain to those who still fail – or refuse – to understand it.

I’m Not an Easy Man is available to stream on Netflix.

 

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