The ancient practice of Chinese Foot Binding

Chinese foot binding was a particularly barbaric practice that existed mostly in rural China until recently. This was largely a cultural practice. The practice involved the very tight binding of the feet of young girls and the keeping of them bound to prevent the feet from growing. This was a painful practice and resulted in substantial deformity and disability. Those who were subjected to this practice had to wear specially designed and made footwear. There was quite an art to this and the shoes that these children had to wear were decorated quite deliberately and exotically. The reason for the practice of chinese foot binding was that smaller feet were considered much more desirable in females. A much higher price could be demanded by the family of the bride for the dowry. The practice was very widespread in rural China for several centuries and only recently started to die out about 100 years ago due to social pressures that were brought to bear on the practice because of the pain and disability that it was causing. There are still some older female Chinese woman living today with this deformed feet from the binding when they were younger. The tragedy is because of what happened when they were children they do need to keep their feet bound as it is more comfortable than not having them bound because the deformity has become so great. There has been a lot of social and psychological analysis of the practice especially in the context of it being done for two please the male rather than being of any benefit to the female. Of recent interest is the current practice of females wearing tight fitting high heel shoes has drawn parallels between chinese foot binding. Some of the social and psychological analysis of that have certainly pointed out the analogy between the two practices and who actually benefits from the practice. Both are painful, both create foot deformity, and both are for the benefit of the male gender.

 

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