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Footbinding Essay

699 words - 3 pages

Foot-binding By: Chris Appel- 8W

Originally foot binding was only done bye rich and high status people. But by the 17th century all Chinese girls practiced foot binding from the wealthiest to the poorest families. It was less usual among poorer families or those that had to work for living bye farming. Some supposedly around 2 billion Chinese women did this practice. Foot binding would destroy peoples feet and cause some disabilities. It also would restrict the amount of walking done bye this person. And people with bound feet were more likely to fall than people without. In 1949, foot binding was outlawed by the Communists.” Those who had bound feet were forced to unbind them or had to do physical punishment.


First, each foot would be soaked in a warm mixture of herbs and animal blood; this was intended to soften the foot to help the process. Then, the toenails were cut back ...view middle of the document...

Then the arch of the foot was broken. The actual binding was then about to start. The bandages were then wound starting at the inside of the foot, then carried over the toes, under the foot, and round the heel, the freshly broken toes were being pressed into the sole of the foot. Each time around the foot, the binding cloth was tightened, pulling the ball of the foot and the heel close together, this made the foot fold at the arch making the toes curl under, this would cause the young girl loads of pain. When the binding was completed, the end of the cloth was sewn tightly so the girl couldn’t loosen it, and then the girl had to stand on her freshly broken and bound feet to crush them even more. As the wet bandages dried, they slowly tightened, making the binding even tighter.”

"For years my grandmother lived in relentless, excruciating pain. When she pleaded with her mother to untie the bindings, her mother would weep and tell her that unbound feet would ruin her entire life, and that she was doing it for her own future happiness."
"In due course, her feet lost much of their original shape. Blood and flesh were squeezed into a pulp and then little remained of her feet but dry bones and skin, shrunk, indeed, to a dainty size.” Merchant Lin

Why was foot binding good?

The shape of the bound feet was considered to be beautiful and graceful. It was first used by dancers to help them move lightly and gracefully. Gradually, it was used by all Chinese girls’ not just dancers. Men found bound feet to be beautiful. They called these feet “golden lilies.” Specially designed shoes called “lotus shoes” were made to fit bound feet and were also supposed to be highly attractive this increased the chance of marriage. So foot binding was increased all over china. Foot binding was seen as a way to secure marriage in a girl’s future. It was considered so attractive that girls who’s feet weren’t bound would not be able to find a husband for most parents wanted there sons to marry someone with lotus feet. A normal footed woman was called a freak of nature. And if they did not get married because of unbound feet usually they were forced to be slaves for those with bound feet. So it became a way of life for millions of females throughout China.

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