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The Antelope

‘A Walk In Her Shoes’ marches toward healthy masculinity

Kieren Feeney leads a pack of men marching for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The second annual Walk in Her Shoes event was kicked off at Cope Fountain last Wednesday. Male identifying students, UNK faculty and staff walked around while wearing women’s high heels.

This year, the event happened in the midst of homecoming week.

“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and with this event, we also touch on gender violence,” said Luis Olivas, UNK Gender and Sexuality Resource officer. “Walk in Her Shoes is a collaboration between my office and Fraternity and Sorority Life to encourage the male-identifying leaders, faculty and staff, as well as students to literally put on heels and walk in women’s shoes for 10 or 15 minutes.”

Students came to the event to support the movement.

“This is for a really good cause,” said Chris Terry, a junior multimedia major. “I like the idea of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. This event is something more fun, but it still brings light to the serious issues, which is really cool.”

While putting on the heels and taking a stroll, the message of what they were doing was highlighted as well.

“This is a time for them to think about the experiences that our female counterparts go through every day like mansplaining or catcalling,” Olivas said. “We as men might not realize these things on a day-to-day basis, but by putting ourselves in their shoes, we try to gain an understanding.”

Another topic the Walk in Her Shoes march touched on was toxic masculinity.

“We live in a society that has been split up by binary,” Olivas said. “In our society, things that are inherently female are seen as weak, while things that are inherently male are seen as strong. I think this event helps the male identifying community on campus see that it doesn’t make you any less of a man to be wearing heels or a pink shirt with flowers on it.”

Olivas said it was crucial to be seen as a united group.

“We want to make sure to show solidarity with all those on campus who identify as female or nonbinary, so they know the male identifying people on this campus are welcoming and affirming of all identities,” Olivas said. “They are also sending a message that toxic masculinity won’t be tolerated on campus. I hope that everyone on campus sees that these males are leading a change to bettering our campus.”

Jacque Platt, a senior psychology major and Panhellenic Council president, participated in the event to support the male-identifying community on campus.

“I think it’s important for the men on campus, and in general, to learn about this subject matter because it’s such a societal thing to not show emotions, otherwise you’re not masculine,” Platt said. “It’s so important to let people know that that’s not the case, it’s OK to show emotions, and just be who you are.”

Because events like these cover hard topics, UNK made sure to explicitly have resources for anyone who may need them.

“This year, we are also having our (Student Health and Counseling) and (Gender and Sexuality Resource Office) having tables at the event,” Olivas said. “We do a lot of trauma informed counseling, care and survivor advocacy. We want to be respectful of all parties and make sure that students see these resources available for everyone, especially survivors of sexual assault, dating violence and more.”

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