The Body As Attire, By Dorothy Ko Essay

801 Words Nov 15th, 2016 4 Pages
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 multiple meanings of Footbinding in the journal “ The body as Attire: The Shifting Meaning of Footbinding in Seventeenth-Century China”. In the Journal, Dorothy claimed Footbinding have three significant meanings which explains the glory times since Song dynasty and difficult and long lasting prohibition. 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…

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