Foot Binding

Best Essays
Topics: Manchu, Foot, China
For what reasons and results did mothers bind their daughter’s feet in China?

History 20I
Historical Investigation
Word Count: 2,000

Julie Diep
April 1, 2012

A. Introduction In contrast to a physically disabled child’s question of “Why me?” left unanswered, the traditional Chinese had a cruel yet straight forward answer of “Because your childhood is over and it is time to grow into a woman.” Which led to the merciless act of willingly breaking and forcefully binding a girl’s foot at a ripe young age to the length of three inches, no longer than the length of a deck of cards. Woman who were seen inferior to men, were treated as objects exchanged in marriage for business or to tie two families together. They were expected to follow society’s rules, foot binding being one of these rules to increase the value of a female. During the 19th century, “…40–50% of Chinese women had bound feet; for upper class women, the figure was almost 100%...” (William Rossi). The Chinese culture encouraged this foot binding process as it was highly desired from ancient China to the 20th century until the establishment of the new Chinese Republic officially banning the process, ceasing it’s use. Mothers considered and inflicted the painful process of foot binding upon their daughters for reasons of marriage, status, and beauty with positive results or death from infection and a life-long physical disability.

B. Summary Of The Evidence * The practices of foot binding were described as “San tsun gin lian,” “Golden Lotus” or “Lily”. By the 19th century, 40–50% of Chinese women had bound feet and for upper class women, the figure was almost 100%. * According to historical account, root of foot binding lie in China in the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.), during the rule of Emperor Li Yu in China. The ruler 's favorite concubine Yao-Niang performed a dance on the tips of her toes atop a golden lotus pedestal. * Another origin is of an Empress who had club-like



Bibliography: Myfanawy, Evans. ”The Painful Tradition of Foot Binding in China”, Pattya Daily News, September 16, 2010, 1 (accessed March 28, 2012). [ 4 ]. Myfanawy, Evans. ”The Painful Tradition of Foot Binding in China”, Pattya Daily News, September 16, 2010, http://www.pattayadailynews.com/en/2010/09/16/the-painful-tradition-of-foot-binding-in-china/ [ 5 ] [ 9 ]. Wikipedia contributors, “Foot binding”, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Foot_binding&oldid=4839893611 (accessed March 28, 2012). [ 14 ]. Jeanine Holman, “Foot Binding”, 2010, http://www.josephrupp.com/history.html

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    Foot Binding

    • 1722 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Shahil Patel English 4 Xu 6 May 2014 Foot Binding: The Price of Beauty Foot binding is the practice of wrapping the feet of younger girls to prevent further growth, usually tied to the Chinese culture. Around the 18th century, foot binding was viewed to be very erotic and appealing leading many women to partake in this action. After many objections and calls for reform the practice of foot binding died out. It is unfair to expect women to painfully bind their feet just to please men and…

    • 1722 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Best Essays

    Essay On Foot Binding

    • 792 Words
    • 4 Pages

    September 14, 2015 Foot Binding “Beauty is not in the face, Beauty is the light in the heart.” – Kahlil Gibran. However true this utterance may be, in nearly every culture all through history, women have been required to undertake major and sometimes painful physical modifications in the insistence of the name of beauty and social status. The Chinese tradition of foot binding could be considered to be among the most barbarous of traditions. With that being said the custom of binding young girl’s feet…

    • 792 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Better Essays

    Foot Binding History

    • 1057 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Many women have misshapen, maimed, bounded, altered, injured, and changed their bodies for their culture. Foot binding was a tradition that began in the 12th century and became more prevalent in the 17th century. Chinese women practiced foot-binding; this process forced women to have broken and bent bones in their feet, for what society considered the most desirable for women. This custom expanded from the class to class. This was considered crucial in order to get a good husband. Men desired women…

    • 1057 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Foot Binding In China

    • 1316 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Foot binding originated in China during the reign of Emperor Yi Lu when one of his concubines with bound feet in the shape of a crescent moon danced for him on the points of her feet wearing lotus shoes. He was so enamored with her that she became his favorite concubine. The other women in his harem decided to follow suit, and the custom of foot binding was born (Foreman 1). The practice continued for dynasties to come and remained until the 1900’s (Lim 1). Eventually, the painful practice became…

    • 1316 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Foot Binding and Today Different + Similar Foot binding has made girls’ feet look nicer. It still made people's’ life different and has changed the look of others. As well as somebody adjustments today, it can also change people’s identity and mood from changing. Foot binding is different and similar from today because some surgeries or makeups can change the way people feel and how the people act. First, plastic surgery is a little similar to foot binding because people are getting…

    • 747 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Essay About Foot Binding

    • 1034 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Foot binding is also known as “lotus feet”. This practice was to prevent the feet from growing. This custom originated from upper-court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms in Imperial China. As a result, this practice became popular in the Song Dynasty and had spread to all other social classes. Foot binding was a mean to show that you were wealthy. This custom was thought to be beautiful. The origin of foot binding began when Emperor Li Yu created a six-foot tall golden lotus that…

    • 1034 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Madelyn Deal Ethics from a Global Perspective Dr. Robert Scott 27 April 2017 Chinese Foot Binding For many years, Chinese foot binding was a way to show that a woman was wealthy and beautiful. If you did not bind your feet, then you were a poor, hard-working woman who had slim chances of getting married. Women had to go through this painful experience for years, just to show that they were among the elite. Foot binding was a very agonizing experience for girls just to have a good chance of marriage;…

    • 1143 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In Ann-Marie Wilson’s work, two specific gender-exclusive practices are heavily detailed. Firstly, “Chinese foot binding (Chánzú) is an ancient tradition of forced deformity, passed generationally from mother to daughter.” Secondly, “Female genital mutilation (FGM)… is a painful and dangerous practice that alters the female genitalia.” The practices have been implemented throughout history, starting as early as 937 CE and “fifth-century BCE Egypt,” respectively. This history of the practice does…

    • 648 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Confucius, examination and foot binding An analysis on ancient china society-Qing dynasty China has 5000 years civilization. The Qing was the last and probably the strongest dynasty in Chinese history. It began at 1616 and ended at 1911. During the Qing period, imperial china has reached its zenith of power and influence. Especially during the reign of Qianlong, the territory of china was expanded to their greatest extent ever. Even some European thinkers admired Qing dynasty was the most successful…

    • 1757 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Woman in living in China during the Song Dynasty believed that they would appear more graceful and beautiful if they had small feet. They used foot binding, a long and painful process of breaking and moving bones, to deform their feet until they were tiny. Foot binding perceived the role of women in Chinese society and Confucian moral values. This practice affected the lives of many women in ways that are unimaginably painful (Bound). One Chinese legend speaks of a time when Lady Huang of the…

    • 1000 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays