I strongly support engaging men in efforts to prevent violence against women. In a recent article appearing in the journal Gender & Society, Men Just Weren’t Made To Do This: Performances of Drag at “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” Marches. The author raises questions about these march’s to protest men’s violence against women where male participants march wearing high heels.
The author concludes that
…the methods utilized to achieve empathy—in this case the strategic deployment of elements of drag—produced interactions at odds with this mission. The interactional dynamics at all five marches I attended support the conclusion that in fact, the consequences outweigh the benefits by implicitly (and at times explicitly) preserving gender and sexual boundaries through the promotion of gender and sexual differences and inequality.
What do you think?
Here is the full citation and link to the abstract on the journal’s web site.
Men Just Weren’t Made To Do This: Performances of Drag at “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” Marches
Tristan S. Bridges, Gender & Society, 2010; 24; 5
Click here for a link to the abstract on the journal’s web site.
Though there is a vast literature on performances of drag, performances of gender and sexual transgressions outside of drag clubs are less studied. This case study of men’s marches protesting violence against women—“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” marches— examines the politics of such transgressions. Cross-dressing to various degrees is strategically utilized at these events in an attempt to encourage men to become empathetic allies. This article suggests, however, that context is critical to the political potential of performances of drag. The author’s observations of the interactions at the marches suggest that drag at “Walk a Mile” marches often symbolically reproduces gender and sexual inequality despite good intentions. At these marches, feminism is gendered when performances of politics and protest are contextually framed as gender and/or sexual transgressions when “feminism” is understood as “feminine.”