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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Huh?

The Diversity Office is conducting an activity where participants walk in high heels “to symbolize what it feels like to be a victim of sexual assault.”

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10 thoughts on “Huh?

  1. AcademicLurker on said:

    Wow. I’ve heard of Diversity Offices (and “Student Life” offices more generally) doing weird/silly things, but this is above and beyond. The unthinking equation of high heels with sexual assault is especially great. Maybe for the next activity, they can have people wear short skirts.

    There’s an opportunity for activism as performance art here though. If this activity is supposed to involve male students wearing high heels, surely some ambitious activist can accuse them of Cultural Appropriation…

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    • “The unthinking equation of high heels with sexual assault is especially great. Maybe for the next activity, they can have people wear short skirts.”

      • Right? This immediately brings to mind the question whether they are suggestion that women who wear heels make themselves vulnerable because they can’t run away. Which is nuts.

      There was also a Tunnel of Oppression last week that people could walk through. I didn’t go because my sense of humor is bound to fail me.

      I keep wondering why this money couldn’t be donated to a food pantry for the indigent instead. I’m so humorless.

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  2. “participants walk in high heels “to symbolize what it feels like to be a victim of sexual assault.””

    And then they offer burqas to symbolize what it feels like to have your social identity erased and be turned into a class of object (woman) rather than an individual…. nah, they’d only offer burqas to talk about how wonderful and liberating they are….

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  3. Shakti on said:

    Definitely, if I overdo it in heels and have to take an ibuprofen at 3 am b/c my knees feel like they’ve been hit with a hammer, that’s exactly like the time I was assaulted. is triggered

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  4. My unit has to go to diversity training and I am terrified. I know how racist some of them are and I do not want to interact with them on it in some strained circumstance — I deal with the results of their attitudes daily IRL, and some fake-o exercise to make us all better in an hour promises to be excruciating.

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    • Shakti on said:

      These are HR exercises and I’m sure a lot of them are from the corporate world. When I worked at a large hospital corporation affiliated with a university, my supervisor and coworker went to diversity training. They told them about dolls and self esteem (which they didn’t know about and it’s good to know), but more to the point, they should’ve known about informed consent, HeLa and Tuskegee (since the university conducts medical research). But that would involve addressing people’s actual attitudes as it relates to their work.

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      • “They told them about dolls and self esteem (which they didn’t know about and it’s good to know)”

        • What about dolls and self-esteem?

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        • Shakti on said:

          Here: The Doll Test for Racial Self-Hate: Did It Ever Make Sense?
          Children were shown identical dolls, save for their color, and asked which dolls were “nice” and “pretty” v “ugly” and “bad.” They were also asked “which doll looks like you?” Apparently the kids picked the white dolls for positive traits, the black dolls for negative traits and the ones that resembled them. This was used to argue that black children suffer low self esteem from a very young age.

          We didn’t work with children, we worked with adults, so I’m not sure why this was mentioned.

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          • It’s absolutely true that self-esteem is a huge issue among African Americans for obvious reasons. But the doll test is faulty because all children want to do is please. They will mirror the attitudes of the adults administering the test back at them. Children have to be a lot older if one is to find out what they really think. So the conclusion is right but the test isn’t.

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