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The Antelope

The Antelope

Lopers march for gender equality at ‘A Walk in Her Shoes’

Men strut down the 26th Street mall walkway in high heels. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff

Faculty, staff and students gathered at Cope Fountain to stand up against toxic masculinity. At “A Walk in Her Shoes” men strutted in high heels with other participants Friday morning.

Some Lopers walked to show support for the women in their lives. 

“I have a lot of sisters, and I get what they’re going through,” said AC Olegario, a freshman who is studying pre-nursing. “In being the big brother, I’ve been there for them for their whole life, and I support them.” 

UNK’s third annual walk began at Cope Fountain and looped around the new antelope statue at the 26th Street Mall entrance. The pathway was lined with signs that displayed unsettling, true statistics of women and domestic violence. 

In addition, bright pink T-shirts were handed out to those who attended, and signs were passed out with empowering messages such as, “I am man enough” and “No excuse for abuse.” 

“A Walk in Her Shoes” is meant to have men slip into the headspace of a female and get a sense of the struggles their female counterparts encounter daily.  

“There’s an old saying, you can’t understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes,” said Luis Olivas, assistant director of diversity and inclusion. “To get people listening, learning and talking, we are walking around in shoes, organizing men literally walking on campus in women’s high-heeled shoes.”

The event is meant to grab attention and make people stop and wonder why these men are wearing women’s shoes. 

This is then a gateway to break down gender norms and ideas, unifying both men and women under one cause. 

“I mean, it’s common sense really,” said Temo Molina, a freshman participant in this year’s walk. “Women’s rights are human rights, and these things are undeniable: gender violence, systemic issues. So, to support this just means supporting people everywhere.”

However, some feel that it is not enough to be aware of toxic masculinity and that males must take action to spark any real change. 

“So today, while men benefit from the patriarchy, they also suffer from the patriarchy’s descriptive gender identities and roles, misunderstanding the responsibility to give it to them by patriarchy, or acting out from the suffering caused by patriarchy,” Olivas said. “Men must learn to take better care of themselves and others, as well as men must become leaders in undoing patriarchy and ending sexualized violence.”

“A Walk in Her Shoes” gives males an opportunity to do more than just speak out for change but to live it. 

“It’s making a proclamation as men, that we can stand by with women and that we can be supporters of women’s rights,” said Isaiah Mahone, a UNK sophomore participating in the walk. “This is an exercise for us to do in order to provoke change.”

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