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Chinese Foot Binding

Bruce 4th Bell
by

Emily Ogle

on 7 January 2013

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Transcript of Chinese Foot Binding

For hundreds of years, Chinese girls had their feet brutally mutilated without their consent to achieve an unnatural status of beauty; as was common tradition. Emily Ogle Chinese Foot Binding "First, the mother soaked the child’s feet in a concoction of herbs, ground almonds, and, occasionally, urine. Then the mother bent the child’s toes under the foot, leaving the big toe free, and wrapped long strips of cloth over and around the ankle," (See 12). This process started when a girl was about six years old and lasted about two years (See 12). "Children’s feet are composed primarily of pre-bone cartilage (mostly water), which made them easier to re-shape," (Chinese 1). Women crippled by foot binding not only lost their ability to walk, but it also showed that they were submissive (What 23). Foot binding was an economic status. If you could meet the expenses of a woman who was unable to work, you were rich. A woman was kept from interfering in politics if she was immobile, and a powerful man was reflected in a "kept' woman. Mothers would bind their child's foot so they could ensure a good husband and secure future for their daughter (Chinese 1). “Such women helped set the standard for beauty with their slender figures, pale skin (enhanced by cosmetics), and dainty feet,” (What 22). Foot binding has been a part of Chinese culture for over a thousand years (See 12). "This practice emerged during the periods of the ‘five dynasties’ (907-960) and the early Song dynasty (960-1279),” (Xu 343). “Foot-binding was first practiced on girls training to be palace dancers, to make their feet daintier and more appealing,” (What 23). “The goal was for the toes to meet the heels of the feet, so that the little girl-and later the woman-would walk on her big toes.” (See 12).

The ideal size of a foot was 3 inches. This was called a "Golden Lotus". The next best size was four-and-a-half inches, a "Bronze Lotus". A five inch foot was called an "Iron Lotus" (Lotus SW61).

Three criteria for a perfectly bound foot:
•Three inches in length.
•A three-inch deep cleft between the heel and sole;
•And the appearance that the foot is merely an extension of the leg, not something to ever stand on (Chinese 1). Works Cited

. "Chinese Footbinding: Broken Lotus." Minnesota-China Connection. Minnesota Department of
Employment and Economic Development. Web. 12 Dec 2012.

. "CHINESE FOOT BINDING." ThinkQuest. Oracle Education Foundation, 27 2011. Web. 13 Dec
2012.

Gillet, Kate. "In China, foot binding slowly slips into history." Los Angeles Times 16 April 2012, 1.
Web. 14 Dec. 2012.

"Lotus land." Toronto Star (Canada) 11 Dec 2004, Starweek SW61. Web. 7 Dec. 2012.

See, Lisa. "The ties that bind." Times, (United Kingdom) 14 Jan 2006, 12. Web. 6 Dec. 2012.

What Life Was Like In The Land of The Dragon. Alexandria: Time-Life Inc., 1998. Print

Xu, Guangqiu. World Eras Imperial China 617-1644. Anthony J. Scotti Jr. Detroit: The Gale Group
Inc., 2003. Print. This is a picture of a purple lotus shoe that a woman with bound feet would wear (Chinese 1). This is a picture of a blue lotus shoe that a woman with bound feet would wear (Chinese 1). This is a picture of a girl who is in the process of foot binding (CHINESE FOOT 1). This picture shows an x-ray of a bound foot compared to a normal foot (CHINESE FOOT 1). This picture illustrates the mutilation of the bone structure in a bound foot (CHINESE FOOT 1). These are pictures of Lotus shoes that a woman with bound feet would wear (CHINESE FOOT 1). Process Chinese foot binding is a form of injustice because it forced young girls to succumb to this painful, unnatural process, or they would not be accepted in society. If they did not have a foot small enough to be "beautiful", they may not find a husband. If they did bind their feet, they would be permanently crippled and in constant pain. For almost a millennium, the practice of foot binding was prevalent across Chinese society, starting with the wealthier classes but over the years spreading down through urban and then poorer rural communities. Now the ancient, some say barbaric, practice is almost gone,” (Gillet 1). In 1912, the newly formed republic of China outlawed foot binding, and the custom finally died out in the 1930's,” (CHINESE FOOT 1). In secluded alpine areas of China such as Liuyi, a village of about 2,000 people in southern China, women still had their feet bound as late as 1949, (Gillet 1). Today, there are still women living with bound feet. The last factory in China to manufacture Lotus Shoes for women with bound feet ceased production in 1998 (Chinese 1). It was considered attractive for a woman to wear Lotus Shoes. The foot itself was broken and ugly, although it was unlikely her husband would ever see her unwrapped foot (Chinese 1).
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