Men Against Violence is a group of really cool dudes who, in partnership with the Center for Women Students, just want to stop gender violence. This Thursday, they’ll step into a pair of pumps for Penn State’s third annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”, the international men’s march to stop rape and sexual assault.
The event is an eye-catching, playful opportunity for men to show their support for women as they raise awareness in the Penn State community about the serious causes and effects of sexual violence.
“A lot of times, as men, we don’t like to talk about our feelings or things that make us feel vulnerable,” said Dylan Houser, a graduate student and member of Men Against Violence. “We’re trying to create a space where it’s okay to do that.”
The big question on everyone’s mind, of course, is where the hell are they getting heels big enough to fit men’s feet?
“It’s a business called La Dame, which is who Walk A Mile suggests we use,” said Susan Del Ponte, faculty advisor and Student Advocacy Specialist from the Center for Women Studies. “That’s why the registration is important, because it’s another piece of the awareness puzzle—it gives a little more credibility, if you actually have to go someplace and do something, but the registration helps us get the size of their shoes so we know we have a pair for them, too. And we have extras, so if people want to come up and do that, that’s fine.”
The event is partially funded by UPUA (who just ordered about fifty more pairs of high heels for the event), and thanks to them and the Center for Women Students, shoes are provided for free for students with feet up to size 14.
“Everything is free for them, because we don’t want to exclude anyone,” said Del Ponte.
And in case you’re a lady interested in supporting the mission of Men Against Violence (and you’re frustrated that this event is geared primarily toward bros looking silly in platform pumps), don’t fret! You can participate, too.
“Women are more than welcome to come, but not in heels,” Del Ponte said. “We need them to be comfortable.”
There aren’t too many events where men are able to be totally comfortable stepping up and showing their support for women in this way, outside of joining Men Against Violence (which you should totally do if you’re a guy looking to prevent sexual violence and show your support for the survivors of it, male and female!), which is what makes the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event such a fantastic opportunity.
“Men literally put themselves in someone else’s shoes and see what it’s like to walk a mile,” said Houser. “We don’t think about things unless we’re put into the experience, so this will allow men to see what women go through every day in just a mile. They’ll think, ‘Oh, this is what it actually feels like when I pressure people to live up to a standard of beauty,’ and high heels is part of that. I think they’ll come out of it thinking, ‘Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t pressure people to fit into a certain size, or to do something they’re uncomfortable with.'”
“It’s great, at least for us, because when you’re in the field of talking about sexual assault, it’s normally just bad news and all the negatives, but this is an event that’s all positives, especially because—I mean, I don’t want to say it’s funny, but—there are so many men who are in heels,” said Tanner Fitzgerald, president of Men Against Violence. “It shows that they’re passionate about this. It’s an encouraging, uplifting kind of thing that makes you feel like there’s hope.”
This event kicks ass, and if you’re man enough to walk in her shoes, here’s the registration form. See you Thursday, April 11, at noon on Pollock Road across from the HUB. Bring socks and band-aids!