SOPHIA GOURLEY ’19
The Trinity Tripod spoke with Mark Ferreira ’17, one of the co-presidents of the Masculinity Project about the upcoming event “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” This event will take place Friday, Apr. 28 from 4pm-6pm.
Trinity Tripod: What is the purpose of the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event?
Mark Ferreira: The purpose of “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” is multi-faceted, but the primary goal is to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence and to show support for survivors of those types of violence. Since men and male-identifiers are the primary perpetrators of sexual and domestic violence, it is imperative that men and male-identifiers are actively speaking out and against this behavior. Of course, not only men or male-identifiers are perpetrators of sexual and domestic violence and not all victims and survivors wear high heels or are women/female-identifiers, but the Masculinity Project uses this event as one way of many possibilities to express our support for all survivors and do our part in engaging the community to end sexual and domestic violence. Another, more general, reason why we hold this event is to show solidarity with women and female-identifiers. Women and female-identifiers face issues each and every day due to misogyny, sexism, and the patriarchy of the society we live in. Having men walk “a mile” on brick and uneven stone ground in high heels shows them just a glimpse of how difficult it actually is to be a woman/female-identifier, and having a literal example for the metaphorical implications is very effective. Heels are just one very simple example of a societal pressure created by men forced on women. As the Masculinity Project, we engage the community in discussion and educate them on how men/male-identifiers can change the societal narrative and make the lives of all women and female-identifiers equitable and equal to those of men and male-identifiers.
TT: Why is it held here at Trinity?
MF: We hold the event at Trinity for a number of reasons. First, Trinity was an all male college until 1968-1969. Second, our first female college president was just elected less than 3 years ago. With this in mind it’s safe to say that the school still holds a strong, male-dominant environment. Also, Trinity, like many other schools, has a less than stellar record with rape culture and sexual misconduct in general. That’s why it’s so crucial to hold these types of events and to make the Trinity community, students and beyond, is cognizant of these issues and the fact that they do exist and that they need to end on this campus.
TT: Who sponsors the event?
MF: The sponsors of the event are the Masculinity Project, Students Encouraging Consensual Sex (SECS), Men of Color Alliance, the Multicultural Affairs Council, Hillel, and the Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC).
TT: Has “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” been a success in the past? How many years has it been going on?
MF: This is only the second year that this event has been held on Trinity’s campus, and last year we had a wonderful turn out. There was food, music, t-shirts, and even note cards that participants of the walk could sign and use to dedicate their walk to a woman or women in their life. By the end of the march we had complained about sore feet, twisted a few ankles, laughed at ourselves, and taken a moment to appreciate those who walk the walk every day.
TT: How can students get involved with this?
MF: The best way for anyone to get involved is by simply showing up! Come as you are and participate. While the subject matter is important and heavy, the event is meant to foster a fun, relaxed, and happy environment. It’s a completely judgment-free environment as well, so there’s no shame in stepping out of your comfort zone. Also, be sure to tell your friends! It’s much easier to do as a group than to show up alone. But either way, you’ll meet new people, learn new things, support a great cause, and have fun all in the span of two hours. Also, everything is free and the heels are provided! Finally, if you are a part of an organization on or off campus, make sure to let them know about the event as well! The more the merrier and any sort of sponsorship would not only be greatly appreciated, but will also be formally recognized by the Masculinity Project.