Unless you're male, apparently.
On March 5th of this very year, 2012, nobody screamed "sexism!" when hundreds of male college students were forced (yes, forced) to put on high heels and march around their campus. The Program, "Walk A Mile In Her Shoes" expects you to do just that. Walk for a mile wearing women's shoes while hoards of other students, faculty, and media laugh it up. In case you're wondering, this happened in Mississippi. America. The website for the program states:
There is an old saying: "You can't really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes." Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® asks men to literally walk one mile in women's high-heeled shoes. It's not easy walking in these shoes, but it's fun and it gets the community to talk about something that's really difficult to talk about: gender relations and sexual violence.How sweet.
These kind young men have decided to suffer the pain of walking for a mile in high heels for the benefit of a program that addresses sexual violence on women. You know, rape and all that terrible business. Never mind that men make up more than half the amount of people who reported forced vaginal sex (penis + vagina penetration) during one year. Never mind that male victims of rape have less protection and virtually no services or social awareness. Never mind that a vast number of society feels men can't even be raped by a woman, including the US Government and the UK. But that's alright. You see, the site goes on to mention that men can be hurt by rape, too.
"Sexualized violence does not just affect women. It affects the men who care about them, their families, their friends, their coworkers, and their communities."That's right, folks.
Men can be hurt because women they care for might be hurt. And that is clearly enough reason to force men to wear these painful shoes and be publicly humiliated. Too bad the site doesn't mention the force part. Luckily, someone else did. Avoiceformen.com remarks:
On the strict condition of anonymity, a member of a participating fraternity spoke with AVFM about the event. He said that the Intra Fraternity Council (IFC), an administrative body who enforces rules and guidelines set both within the Greek community itself and by the school administration evoked a “Standards Requirement,” imposed to ensure a participation rate of at least 80% for all fraternities. Consequences for non-compliance of this requirement include revocation of privileges for individual fraternity members as well as suspension or termination of a fraternity’s charter.“People seemed to get hostile when topics came up like ‘hey don’t you think that this is weird or wrong’ and the reaction would be like ‘hey, what are you implying? there isn’t anything weird or wrong about rape?’ Said the student who indicated that there was an extreme amount of social coercion as well as administrative pressure to participate in the event.“Its ridiculous, its humiliating” said the student. “I think that it doesn’t serve the purpose that it’s meant to serve, I think that it is more or less of a shaming tactic aimed at humiliating instead of teaching someone a lesson and if they are trying to teach a lesson what lesson would that be? You are taking gentlemen, basically, who care about women and care about women feeling better about themselves and their safety and you are making them humiliate themselves for the benefit of what? Not all men are rapists but that is basically the message that an event like this conveys. Even the thought of that if you take a step back is preposterous that all men are rapists.”
Did I mention the stats this organization's speakers parroted off? "One in four women will be raped." False. "Women are more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence than men." Actually, it's the other way around. Men make up more than half of all victims. Good job, you unbiased, informative equal rights organization, you. If only I could have been there. I would have loved to take a picture to show the "Daddy, Why Did You Steal My Innocence" banner to all those men out there struggling to adopt children and being forced to answer questions about their sex lives that women don't have to answer, because it's wrongly assumed men who want to adopt children are just perverts.
I guess I'll just sit back and read the letter these poor men had to vow out loud as hundred of people watched, promising never to rape a woman.