18.Chinese Foot Binding

18.Chinese Foot Binding - Chinese Foot Binding By: Candace...

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Chinese Foot Binding By: Candace Hutchins Throughout history in all cultures a common ultimate goal is to achieve beauty . Just as all people look different, all people have a different outlook on the question, what is beautiful? For some time in the nineteenth century, in America a definition of beauty included corsets, making women's waists as small as possible. Over time beauty has resulted in a lot of pain and in this instance, resulted in broken ribs and damaged internal organs. Body piercing and tattoos fall under the same category although the consequences are not as severe. Great pain has been suffered for centuries for women to achieve perceived beauty. Probably the most detrimental act was one that approximately one billion women in China have preformed for nearly one thousand years. This act, foot binding, was an attempt to stop the growth of the feet. Foot binding is a bizarre and terrible custom, yet it is hard to understand exactly what foot binding was like with the modern outlook we have today. The reason for women binding their feet went deeper than fashion and reflected the role of women in Chinese society. It was necessary then in China for a woman to have bound feet in order to achieve a good life. The exact way foot binding started is not fully known. Several legends have been passed down on how foot binding originally started. The most common legend is about the Chinese prince Li Yu in the Sung dynasty (AD 960-1280) (Nadine 2). The prince's concubine, Yao Niang walked so gracefully it appeared as if she was "skimming over the top of golden lilies" (Chinese Foot Binding 2) To follow that, the "lily footed" woman became a model for China. A variation of this legend was that Yao Niang was ordered to bind her feet in the shape of half moons (Nadine 2). She was to do this so that she could perform an early variation of ballet, also called toe dancing for the royal court. This legend is probably the least likely to be true, because women with bound feet could hardly walk, let alone dance. The most likely variation of this particular story is that Yau Niang danced on a platform shaped like a lotus, as well as toe-danced within a six-foot high golden lotus flower (Jackson 28). Many women began to perform this artistic dancing style, and the dance looked best with bound feet. There are so many variations that it is impossible to know which one is true. A whole other legend is about the last Empress of the Shang dynasty. This Empress had a clubbed foot and did not want to be known as having this condition. She asked her husband to make binding feet mandatory for all girls
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18.Chinese Foot Binding - Chinese Foot Binding By: Candace...

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