Foot Binding History

1168 Words 5 Pages
According to Li Xiu-ying, a bearer of the act of foot binding, “I knew that already because every woman I ever saw had bound feet. Before the Communists came I never even heard of a woman not having bound feet.” Foot binding began in tenth century China and was very popular during the Song and the Qing dynasties. Although it caused many health complications and lifelong disabilities, foot binding became popular by a process of displaying status and also embraced as a symbol of beauty in Chinese culture. Women were affected by foot binding in many ways, especially physically, socially, and culturally.
The act of “foot binding” was the process of applying tight binding to the feet of young girls to adjust the shape of their feet. Foot binding
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This practice mainly began at a very early age around five or six years old. Young girls would first have their feet soaked in warm water with many different herbs and then, once the tissue and the bones of their foot had been softened, all the toes on the foot, besides the big one, were broken and folded under the sole. The foot was then bound very tightly with bindings that were changed about every two days. In this procedure, the arch of the foot is also broken and the foot is forced and pulled straight back to the leg. The goal of this process was to gradually have the sizes of the shoe reduced in order to modify the shrinking feet. This act took many years, for one, would continue to use the foot binding process to make sure the toes stay in place for the future years to come.
Foot binding impacted the physical life of a Chinese woman. The actions that took place during this undertaking were very extreme. After the young girl had started the act of foot binding, they would continue to carry out the process for another ten years, to ensure that their toes would stay in place. However, they would remain to wrap their feet and wear
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One reason for this process was the purpose of marital reasons. This was the most common reason for one to do foot binding; what men most desired in a bride was a foot size of three inches, also known as the “golden lotus”. It was mildly acceptable for some women to have four-inch-feet, which was known as the “silver lotus”, although for a woman to have five-inch-feet or longer, called the “bronze lotus”, it was simply dismissed and it would be very hard for one to find a husband. The size of their foot was to be very small indeed; for families that had daughters to marry off, the size of their feet was its own form of “currency”. Why they upheld this tradition for so long, was for men to be able to control women during their marriage. They were said to be less independent when their feet were bound. Not only did this process allow men to dominate women, it also made them victims of a society that showed brutality towards women. Some researchers say that foot binding deepened the control of women by making them more dependent on males, because it would minimize their movements and enforce better obedience, since women with bound feet were physically unable to travel far from their homes. This enabled women to have very little authority over their life. Another act of accommodation was the role of family honor installed with the procession. This was the second most common reason for one to do

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