Footbinding Symbolism

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Footbinding is the Chinese traditional custom of binding young girls four smaller toes into narrow and arched shape using long strips of clothes in order to keep their feet from growing. As one of the girls who experienced foot binding recalled, “ It [was] extremely painful to bind, and at first it [made] you sick… you are unable to walk at all” , when another girl “ couldn’t sleep at night” . From the memories of those who had bend their feet, it is clearly that the process of Footbinding was extremely painful. Despite of it, Footbinding was prevailed since Ming dynasty and wasn’t fade away until 20th century. Anthropologist and historians had different predictions of reasoning. Dorothy Ko hold her own explanations about this by providing …show more content…
First of all, She believes Footbinding is a civilizing symbol as part of body attire, which is a cultural act that separates human and beasts and brought civility and orderliness. In addition, Footbinding worked as a loyalty test and demonstrated exclusionist and supremacist attitudes towards nations other than Han- Chinese. Finally, it is a body decoration, which suits femininity to seek the beauty at the times. These are salient truths contributed to the enduring appeal and relevance of the practice in late imperial China. In my own opinion, I strongly agree with what Dorothy presents in the journal Footbinding exists in Ming to early Qing period “as an expression of Chinese wen civility, as a marker of ethnic boundaries separating Han from Manchu, and as an ornament or embellishment of the body” …show more content…
Dorothy proved it when she discussed about the proposal of Shen Defu about having barbarians’ women follow Footbinding, which was a strategy he proposed to weaken and subdue the barbarians without army. As Dorothy explained, Footbinding was civil and enabling in China when it was disabling and disarming in barbarians’ domain. Under certain circumstances, the distinction between barbarians and Han- Chinese is enhanced, then barbarians would feel civilization is necessary. Then the imitation of Footbinding can diminish barbarians’ military power and they will be weakened gradually and no longer be a match for Han- Chinese at last. Han- Chinese use Footbinding, the distinction of their civility, as the ethnic boundaries to achieve their national

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