A lot of people are upset that ROTC cadets at Arizona State had to wear heels for an event called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” to “raise awareness of sexual assault against women,” but none of them seemed to notice the real problem with it: It’s a blatant slap in the face to the trans community.
Male-identified persons wearing women’s shoes is a form of drag, and you don’t need to look hard on Social Justice Internet to learn that how insulting drag culture can be to the transgender community.
“Trans women have expressed their own concern that, if conflated with drag queens . . . the validity of their own identities will be questioned, further contributing to the oppression they experience,” Zack Ford of ThinkProgress reported last June.
And it’s not just ThinkProgress, either.
“Drag culture is performance art: it is an over-the-top, campy, garish caricature of stereotypes of femininity,” social-justice hero Brynn Tannehill explained in a piece for the Bilerico Project last March.
“Drag performers get to go out, have fun on a weekend, and go back to work on Monday in drab,” Tannehill continued. “But the drag show on Saturday is part of the reason why many transgender people living in their target gender 24-7 don’t have a job to go to on Monday.”
Although Tannehill and Ford weren’t talking about the ROTC incident specifically, the same general principle applies.
Many of the male cadets were joking around and having “fun” with the idea of wearing heels during the march, as if any of this is the kind of thing that’s appropriate to have “fun” with. It seriously makes me sick.
#related#But what can we expect from an event titled “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”? Yes, “her” — as if everyone who wears heels automatically uses that pronoun. Now, this might not seem like a big deal to people who aren’t as culturally aware as I am, but I promise you that it is wildly problematic. It totally ignores the fact that there are many heel-wearing, female-identified people out there who don’t want to be referred to by language associated with the traditional gender binary. What about the “they/them/their/theirs” people out there, huh? Or the “xe/xem/xyr/xyrs”?
Of course, I’m also going to mention the pronouns “ne/nem/nir/nirs” and “ve/ver/vis,” as well as the fact that there are people who prefer to invent their own pronouns or to not use any at all, because I’m a wonderful person and superior to those who might forget and leave some people feeling excluded.
Sometimes I think about how far we still have to go before we’re living in a truly accepting and loving culture — it’s daunting.