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PNP Bicol draw criticisms over 'stilleto run' for Women's Month celebration

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Mar 04, 2024 3:16 pm

The "stiletto run" organized by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 5 in Bicol to celebrate Women's Month faced online criticism, with many people calling it a form of microaggression that undermined the event's very purpose.

On March 1, 27 male officers from various PRO5 units participated in the run held in Legazpi City, Albay. They wore high heels, wigs, and women's shorts.

This activity was part of the branch's wider program for Women's Month. However, it sparked negative reactions instead of celebrating women.

According to its website, the stiletto run was organized to "symbolize the solidarity of men in acknowledging the pivotal role of women as trailblazers in society."

However, this didn't sit well with many social media users. According to them, it is "disheartening yet unsurprising" to witness the "oversimplification" of women's struggles through performative acts like walking in high heels. Hence, defeating the purpose of Women's Month, which is a "call for genuine reflection on the multifaceted challenges women face." 

"Here we go again. Using someone's struggle for self-expression as comedic entertainment is not a form of empowerment," a social media user commented.

"Events that only involve a stiletto run, therefore, have marginal (if not none at all) awareness-raising benefits and may actually have a counterproductive effect. Because they only highlight women's public struggle, they further invisibilise those that are suffered in private," an X user said.

"Events that only transform women's struggles into mockery and spectacle are microaggressive. Looking at some participants' exaggerated gait and flailing of arms, this PNP stiletto run is one such microaggression."

Others argued that PRO5 should be "serious" about learning gender sensitivity and must undergo training for such. 

"I hope sooner they initiate a 3-DAY GENDER SENSITIVITY TRAINING, o kaya naman GENDER STUDIES FOR MEN," a Facebook user commented.

"Let us embrace a more profound dialogue that addresses substantive issues, recognizing the depth and diversity of women's narratives."

"I hope that there will be GST for Men and establishment of MOVE KATROPA para mas maunawaan nila maging ng organizers ang Gender Issues at implications ng ganitong projects," another one chided.

'More of a mockery'

Last year, the Philippine National Police (PNP), through PRO8, also made social media users raise their eyebrows over its stiletto run on March 9, 2023.

Like the recent criticisms, users back then felt that the event was more of a mockery than respecting women's rights.

"I FEEL IT'S more of a mockery than respecting the women's [rights]. I don't know. Maybe it's just my lack of Pinoy sense of humor sometimes."

"Out of all the policies [or] programs that would've been substantial in effecting real change in women's lives, we get a PR stunt that downplays oppression to a pair of stilettos and makes their suffering a subject of mockery and entertainment."

Some contended that the project unfairly emphasizes males over the women it was intended to honor.

"Cute, buuuut it IS National Women's Month, yet the main headline is still about men? Did you all not pause to think that there's something ironic in that… lol."

In 2019, PRO-8 carried out the stiletto run for the first time "to let men taste how it feels to wear stiletto shoes."

Likewise, the Police Community Affairs and Development Group of Western Visayas further stated that PRO-8 was honoring and celebrating the female law enforcement officers in the area.