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China Foot binding

global studies project

Carmen Hegarty

on 26 April 2010

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Transcript of China Foot binding

Foot Bindings In China An estimate of 2 billion Chinese women were subjected to this practice, from the late 10th century until 1949, when foot binding was outlawed by the Communists. Binding the feet involved breaking the arch of the feet which left a crevis about two inches deep; this was considered most desirable. The most attractive foot had a measurement between three and three and a half inches. Although foot binding lead to serious infections, such as gangrene, and was generally painful for life, many women with bound feet were able to walk, work in the fields, and climb to mountain homes from valleys below. The process was started between the ages of three and fourteen, before the arch of the foot had a chance to develop fully. Steps of foot Binding:
Each foot was soaked in a warm mixture of herbs and animal blood.
Toenails were cut back as far as possible.
Feet were lightly massaged.
Toes on each foot were curled under and pressed with great force downwards and squeezed into the sole of the foot until the toes break.
The foot was then pressed straight down with the leg and the arch forcefully broken.
Lastly, the feet were bound with badages holding them in place. Infection, the most common problem with bound feet, was inevitably followed by disease. Death from septic shock could result from foot binding. When foot bidimg became more exetreme, women in China could no longer walk properly so many had to hire servants to do most of the cleaning, cooking, and caring for the family. When foot binding was popular and a part of the chinese custom, women, their families, and their husbands took pride in tiny feet that had aquired the lotus shape. This pride was shown by beautiful embroidered silk slippers and wrappings the girls and women wore covering their feet.
Walking on bound feet included lightly bending th knees and swaying. This swaying walk became known as the Lotus Gait and was considered sexually exciting to men. If this tradition never began, it would have saved many women from infection, disease, and pain. It also would have changed the order of the household; the men and servants wouldn't have to do the extra work women weren't able to do due to their bound feet. On the positive side, it also would never became an origional style and be seen as a major attractive trait.
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