Spotted on South Side: men in heels for a cause

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A group of men at Saint Xavier University walked around campus in high heels to call attention to women’s issues. | Supplied photo

A bunch of guys walking around in high heels drew confused looks and car honks Wednesday on the campus of Saint Xavier University on the city’s Southwest Side.

It also led to frank discussion about women’s issues, including sexual violence.

The student-coordinated event, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, was part of a national campaign.

English professor Angelo Bonadonna ended up in red pumps.

About 30 people participated, more than half were students.

“I was anticipating there would be a lot of bad jokes. A lot of inappropriate humor. But there was none of that,” said Bonadonna, 57.

The group walked exactly a mile around campus in heels that were provided.

“At one point I was walking next to a 6-foot-5 basketball player. It was kind of a riot to see him. But he took it seriously and there was no cheap commentary. It was very nice,” he said.

The planners made it a light experience, but also a serious experience at the same time, he said. “They arranged all these posters with statistics with jarring facts about sexual assault crimes and the poor reporting rates and conviction rates of those crimes,” Bonadonna said.

“Prior to the event, I got a lot of questioning looks from the women in my household,” Bonadonna said. “My wife was like ‘What’s the purpose of this? To promote awareness of cross dressing?’ ”

His 25-year-old daughter, Genevieve, herself a Saint Xavier graduate, questioned the tactic.

“She didn’t really see the connection or think it was the most appropriate way of doing it,” said Bonadonna, who let a student talk him into participating.

“But I have to say it was a really positive experience because it started this dialogue of people talking about gender issues and about sexual violence.”

Another plus: Bonadonna didn’t twist an ankle.

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About 30 men walked a mile in high heels at Saint Xavier University as part of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, part of a national campaign to call attention of women’s issues. | Supplied photo

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About 30 men walked a mile in high heels at Saint Xavier University as part of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, part of a national campaign to call attention of women’s issues. | Supplied photo

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