Thursday, May 29, 2008

Chinese Cinderellas - The Bound-feet Women ( WW)



Tiny embroidered shoes worn by women who bound their feet

105 years ago, when my grandmother was 5, her father forced her to have her feet bound. Fortunately, her mother came to her rescue. (My grandma passed away 13 years ago.) Born into a poor family but married to my wealthy grandfather, all their possessions were later confiscated by the Communists.

Women with tiny feet were a status symbol who would bring honour upon the entire clan. They had a greater chance of marrying into wealth. During those days, men found women who had small feet (10cm to 13.2 cm) beautiful and sexy.

When I watch Chinese movies showing Qing dynasty concubines, I do find them more feminine as they took dainty steps.

Does she look any prettier than the big-feet women?

When girls were 3 to 6 years old, their mothers would break the 4 toes and fold them underneath the sole of the foot with bandages. The bandages would be taken off daily, then rewound tighter and tighter...... Every now and then, the arch of the foot was broken to force the toes and heel ever closer.

Can you imagine the immense pain the little girl had to endure?


Ladies from wealthy families had to bind their feet

All this for the men's selfish sexual desires. During the Qing dynasty, pornographic books were written, listing 48 different ways of playing with women's bound feet. *%$# the perverts!!!

The bandages that women used for binding their feet were about 10 feet long. It was difficult for them to wash their feet. They only washed once every two weeks, so their feet were very, very stinky.




the misshapen tiny feet





39 comments:

  1. Of course it was a MAN who first thought that torture up. How horrible and tragic, and how powerless were women. Terrible to see.

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  2. Another form of female mutilation.. We really are sick.

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  3. I can't imagine the pain, not at all. Great post.

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  4. Okay - now that's just horrible. Tell me it's not still practiced today!

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  5. Nothing attractive about being crippled and tourtured daily by every agaonizing step. Unless it's escaping drudgerey and having servants to wait on you because you were able to marry a wealthy man who kept you as his personal plaything. Still OWWWWWwwww! Just try curling your toes under sometime and take a step or two. The shoes are cute, but the feet ugly {{{shiver}}}

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  6. Thanks for posting the photo of the uncovered foot - I'd certainly never been able to imagine it before. I'm so glad it's now an historic curiosity. And I thought old photos of wasp-waisted women from the 1800's, thanks to extreme corsetting, was creepy...

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  7. I also remembered the corset. And think about what women do to themselves today, too.... when are we women ever going to take a stand and say NO MORE??

    GREAT POST! I wrote about it and linked to it.

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  8. kesian those who has to undergo such torture

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  9. When I taught history to high schoolers we did a unit on the history of beauty. I did a lesson foot-binding, and it was fascinating. There is a wonderful book called Splendid Slipper that I used for many of the photographs. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

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  10. Ouch!!! Pain Pain!!! =(

    nice meh? i see liao wan to puke. i mean the binded feet.

    dunno what men in the past thinks. *sick*

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  11. it still puzzles me to this day. what is so appealing about bound feet? such sadistic mentality.

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  12. Hey, ECL, Happy WW! Those ladies were really paying the price for beauty weren't they!

    No, I wouldn't ride very far in that pink car either--unless I was wearing my pink shirt. :-)
    ..

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  13. OMG!
    The feet.. aahhhh!! That's really scary.. ;O

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  14. Not playing this week, but wanted to comment. Oh my, I cannot imagine. I just can't. Have a great day. :)

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  15. Thanks from me also, for showing the photo of an unbound foot. I just cannot imagine the pain.

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  16. Oh my God, that's horrible! Those pictures, it looks so very painful. Is that practice still held in China at all?

    Thanks for the post, and pictures. I have heard of this, but never saw it before.

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  17. I know a part of my ancestry, our women has this special way of keeping their feet small and cute. I also know that some of my family members, for those asking for marriage, my grandmother will look at several points particularly the girl's feet, and small is accepted, while the boy, she sees the shoes, shinning means rich, also accepted. No, not Calvin Klein, she did not even peep. LOL!!!

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  18. That seems like such a terrible thing...I can't even imagine anyone finding that attractive. It's amazing what changes over time.

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  19. This is the first time I have seen it without the shoes!

    I pity those women who went through it...

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  20. that's weird but i have seen that because there's one local Filipino movie featured that culture.

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  21. It's terrible to imagine such torture...and that it was done through so many years... Do small, lost communities still do it??

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  22. I watched a documentary on this once, and yes...it did look extremely painful. I just don't understand this, and honestly don't see the purpose! Ouch! :(

    Btw, I got a tag for u! :)

    http://mariuca.blogspot.com/2008/05/more-memes.html

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  23. my stomach lurched reading this, my heart breaks for these women.
    You can dress it up in fine linen and silk with pretty little shoes but slavery and degradation is still slavery and degradation no matter how you dress it up...

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  24. Sick sick and very SICK. I've always read about them in books and watched them in movies..I've seen one granny walking in AMK 20 years ago.
    Ouch and ouch.. thanks for uploading the picture.. It's so sad to see what they went through.

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  25. when i was a little girl i used to frequent the chinese town in manila. this was in the 1960's. there i saw many senior chinese women with bound feet. my mama told me that these women were very rich since only the rich ones can afford to have bound feet.

    i felt so sad for these women. i said to myself that they were probably hurting from each step that they take. are they? is it still widely practiced?

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  26. I was blown away by those photos. I remember reading about this torture a few years ago...Wow !

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  27. I have read a lot about this custom and seen an exposition here in Brussels of these little shoes, sometimes almost smaller than a baby shoe. But all times had their special "fashion" look here in Europe it was very important to be as white as possible. Today a woman has to be brown (and blond) to be sexy ! and in some African countries women have very long necks with rings around, they also had been added from year to year from childhood on.
    It must have hurt very much to tie up the bandage during years and then later sometimes when the women were old the feet just fell off.

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  28. This post is very sad. It's a shame what is done to women and baby girls all around the world.

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  29. I have heard that to tne men the sight of the women's bound feet would turn them on sexually. That was why the women with bound feet stood a better chance of getting married.

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  30. Apparently, the men use the tiny feet to ahem their @$$ !!!

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  31. Wow, I did not know much about this custom. It does not seem attractive to me.

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  32. thank you for educating us on the horrors of foot binding.. i'm really at a loss for words toward the suffering of these women

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  33. oh... just seeing the foot on the picture makes my feet hurt.

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  34. I've heard about this before, but never saw pictures. It's gross and horrifying. Especially when mothers did this to their own daughters even after having gone through it themselves.

    It is amazing what the human body can endure.

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  35. If you read, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See you'll see into the people's lives when feet were bound. Thanks for taking the time to talk about it on your blog. I wrote a review of the book at my blog http://where-i-read-books.blogspot.com/2008/03/snow-flower-and-secret-fan-by-lisa-see.html

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  36. But high heel shoes of today have a similar, but lesser, effect on women's feet. And women choose to wear them to fit with custom. In some ways, not all that different.

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