Foot Binding: The ancient Chinese beauty-deforming culture.
The first time I heard about this was in a book of Chinese history I read some years back. Then, I wasn’t so keen on search engines so I didn’t bother to look it up to learn more. In this new book I’m currently reading, “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” by Lisa See, the images conjured by the words were so vivid that I had to go look it up and see for myself that my imagination was not just in overdrive. It was nothing like I imagined. Take a look for yourself in the pictures in this article.
Have you seen anything like it?
Foot binding is an ancient Chinese custom of applying tight wrappings to the feet of young girls, usually at the ages of 6 and 7, to modify their shape and size. The purpose of this was to make their feet as small as possible which was considered to be an attractive quality. The shape of the feet was made to look like a Golden Lotus; a kind of flower.
Girls with bound feet were usually from families of wealth and high social status who could afford to have one less hand to help out on the farms. Girls with normal feet were usually slaves or from families who could not afford to have them incapacitated, for economic reasons. Foot size determined how marriageable a girl was. Small feet proving to prospective in-laws that the girl was disciplined and able to endure the pain of childbirth. How depressing!
The pain felt when the bones are crushed and the skin around the feet are rotting is not one I can describe since I’ve never felt it before. The description in the books and articles I’ve read on the subject is enough to make my feet ache. For months, girls with bound feet were stuck inside, practicing walking on their tiny feet while enduring so much pain.
Women with bound feet were more likely to fall, less able to squat and less able to stand up from a chair without assistance. They could not walk long distances and could not run. The only “positive” aspect of this practice was that they would be married into families of great wealth. The negative effects of this practice are so overwhelming (in fact I can feel my toes tingling right now) that I can not imagine why anyone would want to subject their daughter to such an excruciating process.
An alarming 1 out of 10 girls died from Foot Binding. This figure is head to head with Female Genital Mutilation and like FGM is yet another example of a cultural practice that objectifies women, dehumanizing them and subjecting them to pain beyond words.
Thankfully, this culture was banned in the early 20th century and is no longer a criteria for beauty or value for women in China of in any part of the world. Whew!
Photos; grunge.com, openendedsocialstudies.com, stmuhistorymedia.org, theatlantic.com
Author: Oreoluwa Ojo
Follow Our Activities On Facebook
34 minutes ago
47 minutes ago
50 minutes ago
55 minutes ago
#BigBrotherNaija “Level Up” Week 6
Though last Sunday Sunday was meant to be a “no-eviction” day, it came as a shocker when fake housemate, Modella…
Dating in 2022; Situationships Are Not For The Fainthearted
Situationships are defined as that space between a defined relationship and something other than a friendship. It is a romantic…
20 Questions With Dinta Media’s Visual Storyteller, Chimeremogo Nwoke
Dinta Media is not really just a media production brand but we like to see ourselves as a hub for…
How Are Nigeria’s Small Businesses Coping?
The current rising rate of inflation and other burdens against the Nigerian economy speaks to the realities of the times.
Thrifting Is All The Rave Now, Here’s Why
By Amy Adindu The affordable clothing movement has gained global attention and acceptance as we’re all trying to look like…
#BigBrotherNaija “Level Up” Week 2
Week 2 of the highly watched Nigerian TV show kicked off with an early plot twist. On Sunday, Big Brother…
#BlueTunes: Burna Boy, Omah Lay Top Album Picks For July
July was a promising month for music lovers; from Lizzo’s album titled Special and Imagine Dragons’ Mercury, (Acts 1 &…
#BlueTunes Album Picks For June
Gbagada Express – Boj Bolaji Odojukan, popularly known as BOJ, was raised both in England and Nigeria. He shot to…
“A Creative’s Dream” with Jeff Chinonso
On the 26th of June 2022, Jeff Chinonso hosted his first solo art exhibition. The Augmented Reality exhibition themed “A…
Nigerian API-based company Thepeer raises $2.1 million
Tech infrastructure startup Thepeer has raised a $2.1 million seed round according to a report from TechCabal. Thepeer, a Nigerian…
Dika Ofoma, Ugochukwu Onuoha take on grief in Debut Film “The Way Things Happen”
The twenty-minute film focuses on the loss of a loved one, and how grief changes a person.
Nigerian Startups might just be Crippled by a Recently Leaked bill
Over the years there has been talks of amendment on the 2007 Act of the National Information & Technology Agency (NITDA).
Why We Love Kelechi Amadi Obi
The definition of talent is Kelechi Amadi’s iconic story. Imagine a person who studies law in school, gets called to Bar, and leaves it all for something different and unrelated…Painting!