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Footbinding

  • Date Submitted: 03/22/2010 03:06 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 76.1 
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The mothers of Chinese daughters had the pressure of binding their daughter’s feet so that the daughter’s would have a better life. It states in the story that “the smallness of the foot was a source of social pride both to the family and the victim.” Foot binding spread as a mark of gentility and upper-class status. They would have the daughter’s feet bound so the daughter would find a suitable husband and have a good marriage. Having bound feet was attractive to a man, and was more important than beauty of a face or person. But when the anti-foot binding movement had started, women still stuck to it so that they wouldn’t have to feel shame for having large feet. Girls were taunted if they didn’t get their feet bound.
The process of foot binding and having smaller feet was a painful process. It started in the late T’ang Dynasty (618-906) and spread to the upper class during the Song Dynasty (960-1297). A girl’s foot was made smaller by pressing the four smaller toes under the sole or ball of the feet in order to make it narrower. At the same time, it was made shorter by forcing the big toe and heel closer together so that the arch rose in a bowed shape. As a result, the arch was broken and the foot could bear no weight except for on the heel. A woman said to Ida Pruitt that her mother bent her toes toward the plantar with a binding cloth ten feet long and two inches wide, doing the right foot first and then the left, and when her mother ordered her to walk, the pain was unbearable. The small foot was called a “golden lotus” or “golden lily”.
Aside from the pain, there was much more to foot binding, such as taking proper care of the feet. Washing and manicuring the feet at the same time was required, but the feet had to be constantly bound. If the nails were not manicured, they could cut into the instep. To help the pain of the feet, massaging them and putting hot and cold water on them were good things to do, although walking for a distance was still...

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