Even though I’ve been the faithful male shopping companion to many a female friend’s shoe-shopping sprees, I’ve never been on the receiving end of those high-heel buying excursions. This past weekend, with a female friend in tow, I headed out to shop for a pair of women’s heels for UMKC’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes violence prevention event. Upon first entering the shoe store I was approached by a helpful saleswoman who asked me what type of shoe I was looking for. It wouldn’t be right not to tell you that I temporarily stumbled and retreated toward the back of the store. Did I fail my first challenge already? I camped out in the youth shoe section and, surrounded by superheroes and cartoon characters beaming at me from the shoes on the shelves, I tried on my stash of high heels my friend selected for me. The first thing I noticed when I slipped into the heels was the sheer distance I was from the ground suddenly. I tried to take a step and nearly fell over. Then I started to notice the painful pinch of my toes, which didn’t go away no matter what shoe style or size I tried. I looked longingly at my friend’s sensible shoes and asked: Why do women wear these slinky nightmares? Is this what women have to go through every day?! The experience definitely made me more aware of what women go through to fit society’s beauty standards.
Arriving at the University Playhouse Tuesday, I felt pride at the sea of turquoise shirts worn by the walkers. Some men proudly wore their heels and others were timid in putting them on. During the walk we held up anti-violence protesting signs and chanted “Silence Is Not Consent” to the rhythm of heavily clicking heels. Spectators and volunteers along the march route offered support and encouragement. There wasn’t one complaint heard from any of the marching men, just friendly warnings to watch for holes and cracks on the sidewalk that could cause someone to fall. I’ve never had to worry about that in my Converse.
I was worn out by the time I got to the finish line. But in addition to my sore feet, I felt a sense of brotherhood– a merging of men from all walks of life gathering together to raise awareness of sexual violence one mile at a time. To top off the evening, I won the “Shoe-In” award this year. I will most definitely be back next year to defend my title. Every high-heeled woman should be greeted by a crowd of cheering fans whenever she walks a mile in those shoes.
Fast Tube by Casper