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bound feet alex - Spring 1986 Shanghai this is my first...

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Spring 1986, Shanghai, this is my first diary entry. My name is Yu-I I was the sixth child of twelve children. My mama and baba are gone but their memory remains. My baba was a well respected doctor who was very strict during my childhood. I wouldn’t dare speak in front of baba unless he opened the conversation. This is a memoir of what it was like during my time. It has been eighty three years since amah and mama broke the toe bones carefully in order to make my feet tiny they called it new moon or lotus petals, or as the westerners called them, bound feet (Pang-Mei Chang 20). “Every little girl wants to have her feet bound” is what my amah said but I could not stop the tears from flowing (Chang 21). I remember screaming and hating myself for it. If I was obedient then baba and mama would be proud of me and could tell others that I did not complain during the process however I failed to be so obedient. Thank the heavens for second brother who called upon mama to stop hurting me; he said that if no one marries me, he would take care of me (Chang 23). Later I learned it was his western training that saved me. It wasn’t that my amah and mama wanted to hurt me it was a custom for women to have tiny feet so they would be suitable for marriage. Having lotus petals was symbolic in China and it was controversial complication throughout my life. When I attended the girls’ school at Suzhou, 1
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Teachers College Preparatory School, most the girls had their feet bound. It became a consensus that the girls with bound feet were old fashioned and unable to learn and the girls who avoided the ritual like me were responsible for their own future.
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