I have blogged a fair bit about the dangers, but also sometimes potential, of 'walking in her shoes' if we want to foster more meaningful, respectful, and powerful solidarity.
I have no reservations, however, in saying that 'giving her a pair of my shoes' smells more like charity to me. I have blogged before about my qualms with the TOMS shoe give away campaign, and in particular their 'one day without shoes' simulation empathy/awareness exercise (and the counter campaign of a 'day without dignity').
Well, I'm certainly not the only one who has criticized them, and in response, they have pledged by 2015 to make one third of their shoes in the places where the shoes
are distributed. I am still dubious that this does much to change the
relationship between the buyer and those who receive the shoes, or
change, or educate about, the structural violence that leaves some
people with less access to shoes.
"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way,
you'll be a
mile from them, and you'll have their shoes." - Jack Handey,
Deep Thoughts (via my friend Christy)