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Kamis, Kristina (2016) – Powerful or Playful – An Investigation of the Effectiveness of Walk a Mile in Their Shoes Events

Abstract

Sexual violence is any form of sexual contact forced upon another without explicit consent. Sexual violence continues to occur at an alarming rate on college campuses. In an effort to reduce these numbers; several colleges have begun hosting events to mobilize men in becoming part of the solution. Specifically, at one event, Walk a Mile in Their Shoes (WaM), men walk a mile in high heels to raise discussion on gender relations and sexual violence against women. However, recent research suggests that WaM may not be effective in achieving its intended purpose. For this reason, this thesis focused on investigating the effectiveness of the fifth annual WAM Kent campus event. Through this investigation, this thesis sought to determine where the event may be falling short in realizing its purpose, and propose solutions for how to improve it in future years to become both a playful and powerful way of increasing talk on gender relations and sexual violence against women. Data was collected through surveys, interviews, and field note observations during the event, and then coded for patterns and themes consistent with the research purpose. Interpretation of the data was informed by gender theory. Findings reveal that walkers were largely motivated to participate to support a worthy cause and have fun. Staff had objectives of increasing participation and engaging men in preventing sexual violence. However, the over-emphasis on fun and participation left WaM short on developing feminist activist behaviors. The “fun” of wearing heels reduced WaM to a parody of doing femininity. In addition, heels were used in a way that reinforced gender and sexual inequalities and failed to extend men’s awareness beyond a “worthy cause” with which they have episodic involvement. Based on these findings, recommendations for practice are discussed.

Reference

Kamis, Kristina2016. “Powerful or Playful: An Investigation of the Effectiveness of Walk a Mile in Their Shoes Events.” Honors dissertation, Department of Psychology, Kent State University.

Identifiers

OhioLINK – Electronic Theses and Disserations Center: etd.ohiolink.edu

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Kamis, Kristina (2016) – Powerful or Playful – An Investigation of the Effectiveness of Walk a Mile in Their Shoes Events

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