Chinese Foot Binding Research Paper INTRODUCTIONAs Essay

Chinese Foot Binding Essay, Research Paper


We will write a custom sample essay on
Chinese Foot Binding Research Paper INTRODUCTIONAs
specifically for you for only $13.9/page
Order now

As I read the newspaper narrative, my eyes widen with every word, Harmonizing to the National Institute of Mental Health there are over 5 million people in the United States enduring with eating upsets. 1 % of all North American adolescents have eating upsets. 10 % of these adolescents will decease. Peoples fighting with anorexia are among those whose wellness are at great hazard ( ) And so I see a image of a immature miss, nil but castanetss and tegument, looking wasted off.

I ask myself, What won t people do for beauty?

They say, True beauty comes from within. However true this statement may be, in about every society throughout history, adult females have been required to undergo major and frequently painful physical changes in the name of beauty and societal position. Possibly one of the most agonising blessednesss in all of history is the Chinese tradition of pes binding.

Foot binding is an ancient tradition that involves the reshaping of the adult female s pess to accomplish a smaller pes.

Accompanied by impossible hurting and crippling restrictions, Chinese pes binding is a testament to how far worlds will travel to be beautiful. As with most other beautification procedures, such as ear piercing or tattooing, Chinese pes binding has important cultural and societal deductions. In add-on, utilizing modern engineering, we can besides see the physiological effects of pes binding.

The History

Foot adhering began in the late T & # 8217 ; ang Dynasty ( 618-906 ) and it bit by bit spread through the upper category during the Song Dynasty ( 960-1297 ) . During the Ming period ( 1368-1644 ) and the Ching Dynasty ( 1644-1911 ) the usage of pes binding spread through the overpowering bulk of the Chinese population ( Mo-ch n, 65 ) . It began with the emperor Li Yu of the T Air National Guard Dynasty who, moving on his fetish for little pess, instructed his favourite courtesan, Lovely Maiden, to adhere her pess in silk fabric in order to do the tips of them look like a crescent Moon. She was so instructed to dance for him in forepart of a six-foot Nelumbo nucifera constructed wholly from gold and decorated with pearls and cherished rocks. This is where the term that described the adult female s pes as a, aureate Nelumbo nucifera, came from ( Chinn, 38 ) . Pretty shortly, word spread from the castle to the aristocracy, which was so passed down to the lower categories ( who did their best to copy ) ( Chinn, 38 ) . The fetish of one emperor spread to go a fetish of his whole dynasty. In 1644, the Manchurians tried to censor pes binding, but ne’er were able to implement it ( Mo-ch n, 65 ) . The Manchurian adult females ne’er practiced foot binding but the Chinese adult females of Han descent continued with the tradition ( Mo-ch n, 65 ) . With the bend of the twentieth century, China began to be scolded by the modern universe, which viewed the usage as barbaric. Feminist groups besides began to start up all over China, talking out against pes binding ( Mo-ch n, 65 ) . The Empress Dowager Tz u-his in 1902 issued a decree censoring the pattern though the pattern continued good into the 1920 s ( Mo-ch n ) . Still, foot binding persisted within traditional households shacking in rural countries ( Mo-ch n ) . The more China became developed, the more force per unit area the outside universe exerted on them to censor the old fashioned usage ( Mo-ch n ) . The Chinese Xinhua News Agency announced, in 1998, that the last mill to industry places for bound-feet adult females in Harbin, China, had ended production ( Chinn, 38 ) . Finally, after a millenary, China has changed its imposts and bound pess are seldom seen anyplace except on old Chinese adult females born in the early twentieth century.

The Procedure

The end of a bound pes is to cut down both its length and breadth. How can this perchance be achieved? The process involved taking a piece of fabric, sooner about 10 pess long and two inches broad, and wrapping the pes. One terminal was placed on the interior of the arch, and from there it was carried over the little toes so as to coerce the toes in and towards the sole. The big toes were left unbound. The patch was so wrapped around the heel so forcefully that the heel and toes were drawn near together. The procedure was the repeated from the beginning until the full piece of fabric had been applied. The castanetss in the pes would finally shatter after walking on it and they would mend falsely due to the patch. It would take about two old ages for the pes to make its theoretical account of three inches. Often, a miss would undo her pess after a few yearss because of the tremendous sum of hurting and force per unit area against her pes. This would do the shriveling procedure to take longer and the female parent would merely hold to remake it once more. After a few months, the flesh of the pes would go icky and parts of it would shed off from the sole ; sometimes one or more toes dropped off. Perfuming of the pess and places was necessary to veil the muzzling olfactory property of icky flesh. It wasn t uncommon for immature misss to be beaten by their female parents for shouting and flinching at the hurting the patchs caused. They were really walking on the exterior of the toes, which had been dead set under. This would do the pess to go bloody and cunt filled and the circulation to the pes was virtually stopped. The pess would so hold to be unwrapped and cleaned merely to be bound once more one hr subsequently. Once the pess were heavy and icky, improbably little places called Nelumbo nucifera places could determine them. These places were difficult and the pes had to shoved into them with force for it to suit. As clip passed, the miss would be given smaller places to jostle her pess into until they eventually reached its theoretical account size. ( Jackson, 22-24 )

One can barely conceive of the hurting and paralysing anguish associated with such a procedure ; and to believe that for about an full millenary, about every miss in China had this Byzantine process done makes one appreciation the true deduction society can set on beauty. The followers is the flooring testimony of a miss who had her pess edge at age seven. It describes the societal force per unit area and physical hurting that comes with bound pess. I was born in a certain territory in western Hunan Province, at the terminal of the Manchu dynasty. In, conformity with usage, at the age of seven I began adhering. I had witnessed the hurting of my cousins, and in the twelvemonth it was to get down was really much frightened. That fall, hurt befell me. One twenty-four hours prior my female parent told me: & # 8216 ; You are now seven, merely at the right age for adhering. If we wait your pes will indurate, increasing the hurting. You should hold started in the spring, but because you were weak we waited till now. Girls in other households have already completed the procedure. We start tomorrow. I will make this for you lightly and so that it won & # 8217 ; t injury ; what girl doesn & # 8217 ; T go through this trouble? & # 8217 ; She so gave me fruit to eat, showed me a new brace of phoenix-tip places, and beguiled me with these words: & # 8216 ; Merely with bound pess can you have on such beautiful places. Otherwise you & # 8217 ; ll go a large-footed savage and everyone will express joy at and experience ashamed of you. & # 8221 ; I felt moved by, a desire to be beautiful and became steadfast in finding, remaining awake all dark. I got up early the following forenoon everything had already been prepared Mother had me sit on a stool by the bed. She threaded a needle and placed it in my hair, cut off a piece of alum and set it alongside the binding fabric and the floral places. She so turned and closed the sleeping room door. She foremost soaked my pess in a pan of hot H2O, so wiped them, and cut the toenails with a little scissors. She so took my right pes in her custodies and repeatedly massaged it in the way of the plantar. She besides sprinkled alum between my toes. She gave me a pen point to keep in my custodies because of the belief that my pess might so go every bit pointed as it was. Later she took a cloth three pess long and two inches, broad, grasped my right pes, and pressed down the four smaller toes in the way of the plantar. She joined them together, jump them one time, and passed the binding from the heel to the pes surface and so to the plantar. She did this five times and so sewed the binding together with yarn. To forestall it from acquiring loosened, she tied a slender cotton yarn from the tip of the pes to its centre. She did the same thing with the left pes and forced my pess into flowered places which were somewhat smaller than the pess were. The tips of the places were adorned with togss in the form of grain. There was a thread affixed to the oral cavity of the shoe and fastened on the heel. She ordered me to acquire down from the bed and walk, stating that if I didn & # 8217 ; t the crooked-shaped pes would be earnestly injured. When I foremost touched the land, I felt complete loss of motion ; after a few tests, merely the toes hurt greatly. Both pess became hectic at dark and injury from the swelling. Except for walking, I sat by the k & # 8217 ; Air National Guard ( bath ) . Mother bounce my pess hebdomadally, each clip more tightly than the last. I became more and more afraid. I tried to avoid the binding by concealing in a neighbour & # 8217 ; s house. If I loosened the patch, female parent would call on the carpet me for non desiring to look nice. After half a twelvemonth, the tightly bound toes began to uniformly face the plantar. The pes became more pointed day-to-day ; after a twelvemonth, the toes began to putrefy. Corns began to look and inspissate, and for a long clip no betterment was seeable. Mother would take the bindings and lance the maizes with a acerate leaf to acquire rid of the difficult nucleus. I feared this, but mother grasped my legs so that I couldn & # 8217 ; t move. Father betrothed me at the age of nine to a neighbour named Chao and I went to their house to function as a daughter-in-law in the place of my future hubby. My mother-in-law bound my pess much more tightly than female parent of all time had, stating that I still hadn & # 8217 ; t achieved the criterion. She beat me badly if I cried ; if I unloosened the binding, I was beaten until my organic structure was covered with contusions. Besides, because my pess were slightly heavy, my mother-in-law insisted that the pes must go inflamed to acquire the proper consequences. Day and dark, my pess were washed in a medicative H2O ; within a few lavations I felt particular hurting. Looking down, I saw that every toe but the large 1 was inflamed and deteriorated. Mother-in-law said that this was all to the good. I had to be beaten with fists before I could bear to take the bindings, which were congealed with Pus and blood. To acquire them free, such force had to be used that the tegument frequently peeled off, doing farther hemorrhage. The malodor was difficult to bear, while I felt the hurting in my really insides. My organic structure trembled with agitation. Mother-in-law was non merely unaffected but she placed tiles inside the binding in order to rush the redness procedure. She was deaf to my infantile calls. Every other twenty-four hours, the binding was made tighter and run up up, and each clip somewhat smaller places had to be worn. The sides of the places were difficult, and I could merely acquire into them by utilizing force. I was compelled to walk on them in the courtyard, they were called distance-walking places. I strove to cleaving to life, enduring indefinable hurting. Being in an mean household, I had to travel to the well and a lb the howitzer unaided. Faulty blood circulation caused my pess to go insensible in winter. At dark, I tried to warm them by the k & # 8217 ; Air National Guard, but this caused utmost hurting. The alternation between hoar and melt caused me to lose one toe on my right pes. Deterioration of the flesh was such that within a twelvemonth my pess had become every bit pointed as new bamboo shoots, indicating upwards like a ruddy chestnut. The pes surface was somewhat bulging, while the four bean-sized toes were profoundly imbedded in the plantar like a twine of cowrie shells. They were merely a little distance from the heel of the pes. The plantar was so deep that several coins could be placed in it without trouble. The big toes faced upwards, while the topographic point on the right pes where the small toe had deteriorated off pained at irregular intervals. It left an inefface

able cicatrix. My pess were merely three inches long, at the most. Relatives and friends praised them, small recognizing the cisterns of cryings and blood that they had caused. My hubby was delighted with them, but two old ages ago he departed this universe. The household wealth dissipated, and I had to roll about, looking for work. That was how I came down to my present fortunes. I envy the modern adult female. If I excessively had been born merely a decennary or so subsequently, all of this hurting could hold been avoided. The batch of the natural-footed adult female and mine is like that of Eden and snake pit. ( Levy, 224-227 )

The Social Deductions

& # 8220 ; Women from clip immemorial and throughout the universe showed a willingness to maim themselves to accomplish male-defined criterions of beauty and win love and admiration. & # 8221 ; ( Carlitz, 1 )

Rotten flesh, cunt filled places, horridly deformed pess these are non typical images of beauty. So what precisely did males see in these anguished pess? Chinese work forces associated bound pess with higher-status love and sex, utilizing them in arousal ( Levy, 2 ) . They preferred the little and delicate pes to the natural one for several grounds. It reminded them of a feminine goddess since it was so soft and light unlike a natural pes which was man-like and heavy. They besides claimed that a adult female with delicate pess smelled nicer so a adult female with large pess. The ground for this was that adult female with bound pess needed to set lotions and aromas on them to acquire rid of the disgusting malodor of dead meat. It was said that a adult male should ne’er look at a adult female s unbound pess because the bang and enigma of the mincing pes would be lost. Alternatively, they were told to appreciate the, visual aspect of the pes in a shoe. ( Levy, 2-3 )

A adult female s places were about every bit sexual as their pess themselves. There were places for all occasions such as bed, funerals, birthdays, and matrimonies. Girls would hold about 12 braces of places for a dowery and besides would give their female parent in jurisprudence two braces of specially made places. In the Chinese civilization, pes binding was considered an art of doing living affair magnificence. ( Pang-Mei, 10 )

Curiously plenty, the people who mutilated these misss were their female parent or female parent figure. They would get down adhering her pess between the age of six and eight. It was considered to be a really religious pattern and was celebrated amongst the household ( Rita, 15 ) . One wonders how a female parent could set her ain girl through so much hurting. The reply lies in the societal importance associated with the debilitating pattern. One s category could frequently be determined by the size of the pes ( Carlitz, N/A ) . The wealthier a miss was, the smaller her pess were. Upper category households had more money to pass on better binding fabric and fancier places for their girls. There was no demand for the misss to work, for the work forces in the household brought home adequate money. The poorer households, nevertheless, could non afford to populate off the wage of the adult male of the family, and so the married woman besides had to gain money though labour ( Carlitz, N/A ) . Womans with bound pess were handicapped so badly that they were limited in what sort of work they could execute. If a adult female s pess were decently bound to the desirable size of three inches, so the adult female could merely walk short distances and even that required aid. Running and other emphasiss on the pes were out of the inquiry. Therefore it was merely the rich Lords who could hold their pess bound so tightly, for they weren t required to work. The poorer adult females would hold slackly bound pess, and were looked down upon for their brutal pess. The pess were besides vastly of import in set uping matrimonies ( Carlitz, N/A ) . A adult male would seldom take a adult female with unbound pess unless he was highly hapless. Even so, the whole matrimony would be looked down upon as bad fortune ( Chinn, 38 ) . The first thing that a mother-in-law did when she foremost met her future daughter-in-law was lift up her frock. If she saw that her pess were satisfactorily bound, so she put the frock down and smiled in blessing. If she saw big pess, she threw the frock down in disapproval. This was considered to be the most demeaning thing that could hold of all time go on to a adult female in China during that epoch ( Chinn, 38 ) . Such a rough world put huge force per unit area on the female parent to adhere her girl s pess every bit tightly as possible. If the female parent did non hold the bosom to set her girl through all that hurting, the girl would turn up ashamed and single and the female parent would be considered to hold a weak psyche. Such was the force per unit area of the female parent and explains why the usage was successfully practiced for so long Carlitz, N/A ) .

Why merely adult females? The case of work forces disabling adult females to coerce them into societal entry is non uncommon in any society or during any clip in history. The adult male s duty was to back up his household and to make any work or responsibilities outside of the place. By rendering the adult female s pess useless, they are immobile and practical prisons of their house, where they depend entirely on their hubby. As a consequence, Chinese adult females were left with no intent except to get married into a good household. Daughters had to larn that they carried the reputes of both their natal household and the household into which they married in the bind of their pess. ( Mo-ch N, 78-80 )

The Repercussions

The ancient Chinese usage of pes binding has caused terrible life-long disablement for many 1000000s of aged adult females, even in today s China. In November 1997, UC San Francisco released inside informations of the first survey on the effects of pes binding. The research involved analyzing a indiscriminately selected sample of 193 adult females in Beijing ( 93 at 80 old ages or older and 100 between 70 and 79 old ages ) . They found 38 per centum of adult females in the 80s age group and 18 per centum of those in the 70s age group had bound foot malformations. The survey shows that adult females in the 80 old ages or older group with bound pess were more likely to hold fallen during the old twelvemonth than adult females with normal pess ( 38 per centum vs. 19 per centum ) and were less able to lift from a chair without aid ( 43 per centum vs. 26 per centum ) . ( Cummings, N/A )

Harmonizing to lead writer Steven R. Cummings, MD, UCSF professor of medical specialty and epidemiology and biometricss, We besides found that adult females with distorted pess were far less able to crouch, an ability that is peculiarly of import to toileting and other day-to-day activities in China. In add-on, the survey found that adult females with bound pess had 5.1 per centum lower hip bone denseness and 4.7 per centum lower spinal column bone denseness than adult females with normal pess, seting them at greater hazard of enduring hip or spinal column breaks. ( Cummings, N/A )

Despite the troubles we observed, adult females with bound pess did non hold greater trouble fixing repasts, walking or mounting stairss, Cummings says, adding that these adult females may hold accommodated to their damages or may be loath to kick. ( Cummings, N/A )

Hopefully within one or two future coevalss, we will no longer see these enfeebling effects on anyone.


Foot binding was a successful, 1000 twelvemonth old customary pattern of the Chinese civilization that did non decease out until hardly a century ago. It forced adult females to digest huge hurting in the name of beauty and societal position. The usage is genuinely an illustration of how much influence society has on our mentality of beauty.

From a strictly anthropological position, we must non look at pes binding as either right or incorrect, but as a usage that merely worked for the Chinese. Their societal construction was such that work forces were to work and adult females were to remain place. Arranged matrimonies were the most of import factor in a adult female s life and a adult female s wealth and position had to be judged by these matrimonies. Bound pess offered a manner to visually divide the rich from the hapless and helped implement this societal scene. For the Chinese, it was their manner of maintaining order.

Still, we can larn from this usage by utilizing its illustration of society and beauty. This peculiar instance survey drastically shows how far a society can travel in non merely stating adult females how to be beautiful but coercing the issue every bit good. Beauty, something normally revered as a positive influence in society, can in world cause major harm to the wellness of the population. Americans, in a most ethnocentric attitude, frown upon the usage of pes binding, impeaching it of being distastefully unbeautiful and barbarian and relish in the fact that such a usage doesn t exist in America. Yet, the ghastly statistics of Anorexia in America tell a different narrative, one non of foot anguish but of famishment and decease. And the force per unit area to be attractively scraggy still continues, distressingly coercing one ideal of beauty on everyone. It took China about a thousand old ages for them to take into history what they were making. Hopefully, the remainder of the universe will utilize its illustration so that others wont have to endure beauty through hurting.


1. Carlitz, Katherine.

hypertext transfer protocol: // gwang/teaching/footbinding_in_traditional_china.htm

This web site offered information about the cultural significance of adult females enduring for beauty. The writer made cross-cultural comparings with the European girdle and pes binding.

2. Chinn, Thomas. Bridging the Pacific: San Francisco Chinatown and Its Peoples. San

Francisco: Chinese Historical Society of American, 1989.

( pp.36-54 ) This book offered some information about the lower category Chinese who had their pess bound. I gave many inside informations about the immigrants who came to San Francisco and lived there with edge pess.

3. Cummingss, Steven R. , Chinese Foot Binding. American Journal of Public Health,

October 19, 1997. ( hypertext transfer protocol: // )

This is a survey done by UCSF on the wellness jobs of adult females who have bound pess. It offered plentifulness of statistics that greatly demonstrated the adversities that these adult females have. The lead writer is Steven R. Cummings, MD, UCSF professor of medical specialty and epidemiology and biometricss.

4. Jackson, Beverley. Splendid Slippers: A Thousand Old ages of an Erotic Tradition, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley California, 1997.

( pp.22-45 ) . This is likely the most interesting of the beginnings, as it offered plentifulness of images of the slippers for bound pess.

5. Levy, Howard S. , The Lovers: The Complete History of the Curious Erotic Custom of Foot adhering in China. Prometheus Books, New York, 1991.

( pp. 2, 4-6, 15, 36 ) The book talked a batch about the captivation work forces had with the bound pes. It surprised me how many different ways work forces revered and even used the pes ( like in chancing games, imbibing, sex, etc. ) .

6. Mo-ch N, Chang. Resistance to Foot Binding, in Chinese Women Through Chinese Eyes, ( ed. Yu-ning, Li ) , M. E. Sharpe, Inc. , New York, 1992.

( pp. 60-80 ) I got most of my information about the history of pes adhering from this book. It discussed the manner the ancient usage died out and about the function of adult females in abolition.

7. Pang-Mei, Natasha Chang. Bound Feet and Western Dress, pg. 6, Doubleday, New York, 1996.

( pp.10-11 ) This book had some interesting facts and images of bound pess. This book, like Thomas Chinn s Bridging the Pacific: San Francisco Chinatown and Its Peoples, talked about the Chinese immigrants who lived in San Francisco with bound pess.

8. hypertext transfer protocol: //

This web sight had the anorexia statistics that I used in the debut.

9. Rita, Aero. Things Chinese, Doubleday & A ; Company, New York, 1980.

Thingss Chinese discussed the function of pes binding in the intricate societal construction of the Chinese. It chiefly focused on how foot binding was a manner to reenforce the female gender function in society.


Haven’t Found A Paper?

Let us create the best one for you! What is your topic?

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.

Eric from Graduateway Hi there, would you like to get an essay? What is your topic? Let me help you


Haven't found the Essay You Want?

Get your custom essay sample

For Only $13.90/page