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Social Science 13

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Maan Minaldo

on 19 August 2013

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Transcript of Social Science 13

Chinese Foot-Binding
Neck Ring
Ear Plate
Chinese Foot-Binding
Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) during the reign of Li Yu whose heart was captured by a concubine, Yao Niang, also a talented dancer, who bound her feet to suggest the shape of a new moon and performed a lotus dance.

It generally began when girls were 4 to 7 years old, because at that age, the bones in their feet were still fairly soft and pliable, thus making it easier to reshape.

It is done usually during winter. The feet were softened in hot water. Any dead skin was scrubbed off and toenails were clipped as short as possible.
Next came the actual binding.
* Cotton bandages (2 inches [5 cm] wide and 10 feet [3 m] long)
The binder (mother or experienced woman) folded the four small toes under the feet and began wrapping each foot.

The wrapping is in a figure-eight pattern and its goal was to leave the big toe and the ball of the foot largely intact, leaving the four toes under the foot.
To ensure a tight bond and prevention of ripping off, the bandages were sewn together at several points.
Once the binding was finished, a small pair of shoes was placed on the girl’s feet. The result of this is a tiny feet of about 3 inches long.

Why is it practiced?
*Symbol of beauty
*Status symbol and prosperity
*Men will only marry women with bound feet.
*Women with bound feet were believed to develop extra strong vaginal muscles.

*Complications such as paralysis, gangrene, pus and prone to infection.
* Death
*pain & suffering
Example Cases
Wang Lifen was just 7 years old when her mother started binding her feet: breaking her toes and binding them underneath the sole of the foot with bandages. After her mother died, Wang carried on, breaking the arch of her own foot to force her toes and heel ever closer. Now 79, Wang no longer remembers the pain. Wang Lifen was convinced by her neighbors to bind her feet. She then married an opium addict.
Wang Lifen's life at her time was very good. They were a wealthy family back then. But after the Communists came, all her wealth were gone. During the Communist era, they had to do farming and production work which were of course very hard for foot-bounded women.
Zhou Guizhen, 86, says she regrets binding her feet. "I can't dance. I can't move properly. But at the time, if you didn't bind your feet, no one would marry you," she says. Like Wang Lifen, all her wealth was also confiscated by the Communists and is now living in a small house in Liuyicun, a village in Southern China's Yunan Province.
Social control over women for 1000 years.
Neck Rings
Padoung/ Padaung
‘Yan Pa Doung’ meaning ‘Karen brass wound people’,
The Kayan women of Northern Thailand are known for the exquisite and incredible brass coils they wear around their necks. They are often called the "long necks" or the "giraffe women" by outsiders and can wear up to 25 coils, which many never take off.
In the border mountains between Burma and Thailand
Ndebele tribe
Southern Africa
Children are often given their first set of coils at age 5. This consists of a set weighing about 4 1/2 pounds, then slowly new rings are added. These women can wear up to 25 coils which weighs up to 10 kilos.

As the weight of the coils press down, the clavicle is lowered, and with each addition to the neck rings it falls further, compressing the rib cage as well. The shoulders finally fall away to give the appearance of an elongated neck.

Why is it practiced?
*For Kayan women

*tribal identity associated with beauty
*preservation of culture
*unattractive to slave trade
*against tiger bite
*reflects the neck of a dragon (which is an important part of Kayan mythology)
*For Ndebele women
*provide intense spiritual power
*tribal wealth
*bonding between marriage couples
Lip Plates & Ear Plates
Practiced by different tribes in Africa. A lip plate to the outsider is more a form of body mutilation than body art but to a Mursi or Suri woman a lip plate is an expression of female maturity and a sign that she has has reached child-bearing age.

The Mursi, Chai and Tirma are probably the last groups in Africa amongst whom it is still the norm for women to wear large pottery or wooden discs or ‘plates’ in their lower lips. The lip-plate (dhebi a tugoin) has become the chief visible distinguishing characteristic of the Mursi and made them a prime attraction for tourists.
This tradition is customarily performed between 6 months and a year before a young girl is to marry, usually around the age of sweet sixteen.
During initiation rituals of young Mursi girls a small incision of between 1 and 2cm in length is made in their lower lip. This ritual is usually performed by their mother or their kinswomen.

A wooden peg or ceramic disc is placed in the incision and this remains there for approximately 3 weeks or until the wound has healed. The peg is then replaced with a slightly larger disc thereby stretching the lip gradually. This stretching process will continue until the lip has an opening of about 4cm in diameter. At this point the first clay lip plate will be inserted.
To accommodate the lip plate at least two and sometimes four lower front teeth are extracted.

Each woman crafts her own lip plate and decorates each one with pride. The stretching process using larger and larger lip plates will continue until on average a lip plate with a diameter of about 10 to 15 cm will fit into the lower lip. There are reports of some women who boast lip plates that are 25cm in diameter, though this is not the norm. This entire stretching process usually takes a few months to complete.

Because lip plugs make talking difficult, women only wear their lip plugs in the company of men, but they remove them to eat and sleep or when they are only in the company of women.

Why is it practiced?
size of the lip plate is correlated with the size of a woman’s bridewealth
Signify beauty
sign that the girl is ready for marriage
a distinguishing trait that ensures she is not member of the neighboring rival tribes
expression of social adulthood and reproductive potential
It is a kind of ‘bridge’ between the individual and society - between the biological ‘self’ and the social ‘self’.

Speech production: Women cannot produce bilabial and consonant vowels in their language.
prone to infections

Neck Rings:
Lip Plates & Ear Plates:
Full transcript