Footbinding in Ancient China
Girls, you probably think you go through a lot to make yourselves look beautiful. And you might think that you do more than any girl to make yourselves look as good as possible. In ancient China, little girls were required to bind their feet for acceptance in society. Throughout history, fashion and style has come at great costs to many Chinese women. From the young age of 6, girls had to endure the torturous process of breaking the arch and curling the toes under so that their feet would fit the ideal golden lotus which is a euphemism for the three to four inch, painful and mutilated foot that was so revered in China from the tenth-century up until the twentieth-century. Footbinding has a rich history. Footbinding’s social implications go far beyond its physical pain, into the role of women in Chinese society, and the male fetish. It became more than just a fashion but a necessity to achieve a good life and even a good after life. When a girl turned six or seven she would have to endure two pains. In the first month of her sixth or seventh years she would have her ears pierced, soon after she would have her feet bound. Her mother would consult the lunar calendar to make certain it was an auspicious day for her daughter’s feet to be bound. If the girl’s feet were bound on the wrong day it was thought that the process would be more painful or that the foot would not come to the desired shape. The date was usually in the autumn so that the cold winter would numb the foot during the painful formation period. When the chosen day came about the mother would soak the daughter’s feet in warm water with herbs or warm animal blood. After they were dried, all of the dead skin and flesh was rubbed off. The toenails would be clipped so that they would not dig into the foot after it was bound and thus cause infection. Then the foot was massaged with alum to keep it from sweating. After that, bandages of white cotton were used to wrap...
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