Is there anything harder than walking in heels up and down hills or stairs or while pushing a stroller on a college campus? Last night on the campus of the University of Missouri Kansas City, nearly a hundred men found out first hand and gained a new appreciation for what women are put through to look "fashionable" or "sexy" in our culture. 200 more people came out to support these men as they took a stand to speak out against sexual violence.
Walk A Mile In Her Shoes has been around since 2001 but has received some critism of late for making a mockery of women's experience as well as limiting the victimization of sexual violence -- as if it only happens to women. Both are valid points. I believe this march creates space to begin conversations about how men and women can partner together to end sexual violence. High heels are only a representation of ALL the devices that are meant to keep women, collectively, "in their place". As you see above, many men take on other devices in this walk as well such as pushing a stroller, wearing hose, painting their nails, and wearing skirts.
Even in walking in these shoes for a mile, participants recognized that they will not fully comprehend what it means to be stereotyped and oppressed by these things daily. That said, many men complained of blisters, turned ankles, and felt gawked at during the march as well as many reported they did not know how women dawn heels ever after their mile experience. For men to catch a glimpse of women's daily experience, have an opportunity to broaden their awareness about how sexual violence impacts their loved ones, and learn that they can be a part of the solution by becoming active allies in their communities -- this is the goal of "Walk A Mile" events and I believe that was accomplished at UMKC's 3rd annul event.
Thanks to all that participated and supported the event. It was great to see so many campus and communtiy men and women join together to walk in support of ending sexual violence. A special thanks to the UMKC's Women Center for making this event possible.
UPDATE: Cross posted at UMKC's Women Center.