Monday, April 26, 2010

Walking In Her Stereotypical Shoes

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is an international movement for men to show support for females and to unite against sexual assault. As the name suggests, the movement includes asking men to wear women’s high heels and walk a mile. This action is supposed to get the community discussing gender relations and sexual violence. Also, most walks raise money for local rape crisis centers. There are 173 walks planned for 2010 (Baird, 2009).

For men, walking in high heels is unusual and painful. Yet, as George, a participant at Milford, CT walk said, “We spend 15 minutes in pain. But the victims of domestic violence spend a lifetime in pain” (Ramunni, 2010). Thus, men participate because they feel the rewards are worth it.

Interestingly, what this walk suggests is that gender stereotypes can be used in a beneficial manner. According to Melissa Lytton (2010), “A bunch of men running around in high heels draws a lot of attention, which outweighs any negative effects of its cutesy nature. It’s simply clever marketing, and it’s marketing that’s finally being used for a great cause.” Instead of men being laughed at for breaking a stereotype, they are being admired. As Jesse, another participant at the Milford, CT walk said, “I went into the men's room and you can imagine the looks I got. A man walked up to me and asked `what are you doing,' and when I told him he took a $20 bill out and gave it to me (for the fundraiser).” Thus, the walk hopes to use the uneasiness people have towards men wearing high heels into a learning opportunity.

In the case of “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” shoes are the gender stereotype. While there are other stereotypic female objects, such as a purse, the organizers believed shoes would be a better object, partially based on the old saying, “You can't really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes” (Baird, 2009). This walk shows the power of shoes to affect others and to have a positive effect, helping to raise awareness of sexual violence.


Baird, F. (2010). Walk a mile in her shoes. Retrieved April 25, 2010 from

Lytton, M. (2010). Race shows high-heeled men can help women heal. Retrieved April 25, 2010 from

Ramunni, K. (2010). Some find it hard to "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes." Connecticut Post. . Retrieved April 25, 2010 from

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