As a result of their diminished mobility, they were also less likely to have affairs or run from the beatings or unfair treatment of their husbands. Rich girls would have their feet bound while the poor would not. First, the feet are softened in water and toenails are clipped. Foot binding was outlawed in 1911 because it was causing many deaths. China was a country that was dominated by men during this time and the customs of foot binding was a reflection of this. Binding the feet was done with cloth, and began when a girl was four, five or six. These patterns not only adorned the sides of the shoes, but also the soles. They begin the process with soaking the Childs' foot in hot water and then clipping their toe nails to reduce infection. NCBI. Footbinding, cultural practice, existing in China from the 10th century until the establishment of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949, that involved tightly bandaging the feet of women to alter their shape for aesthetic purposes. Therefore, foot binding quickly became the ideal practice to exhibit one’s obedience and adherence to the teachings of this doctrine. 103 years after foot binding was banned, a few women still live with the severe deformity it caused. The process was started on girls ranging in age from two to seven years. It generally began when girls were 4 to 7 years old, because at that age the bones in their feet were still fairly soft and pliable, and thus easier to reshape [source: Footwear History]. The result of foot binding was shorter and narrower feet due to the forcing of the heel and the big toe to move closer together than nature intended. Foot binding process. Some working women in Jiangsumade a pretense of binding while keeping their feet natural. Women who were considered poor and lower class had to be on their feet to provide for their families through gruelling physical labour. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition or illness or act as a substitute for professional medical advice. The process of foot binding is a very tedious,and painful process. Following on from the perceived beauty that lies within smaller feet, sexuality then became associated with foot binding. Foot binding was carried out from the 10th century and finally outlawed in 1911. Generally, it was a practice for females. The process was started before the arch of the foot had a chance to properly develop. On the one hand it was a painful, dangerous, demeaning, and debilitating practice that women were coerced to engage in. When foot binding initially began, it was thought to only be performed by women who belonged to the higher classes of society, as these women had the time to bind their feet and could afford to not work. The styles and colours that were used reflected a sense of pride that women had in their shoes. A less severe form in Sichuan, called "cucumber foot" (huanggua jiao) due to its slender shape, folded the four toes under but did not distort the heel and taper the ankle. All of the girl’s toes on her feet, except for her big toes, were then broken and folded under the foot (i.e. The implementation of this practice was deemed as a significant sacrifice for the families from the lower class as each daughter who had her feet bound, meant less income for the family as she would be unable to perform physical labour that required lengthy periods of standing and walking to earn her keep. Foot Binding. Some theories suggest that foot binding made it more difficult for women to run away from their husbands and due to their difficulty in balancing on such small feet and the pain that resulted from foot binding, they were more likely to stay home and remain loyal to their husbands. In addition to this, a foot in its bindings or wrapping is thought to have resembled the male penis. the sole). Along the way they usually get many infections that slow down the process and make it more painful. During the process, young girls either couldn't support the pain or they usually were infected. Process and the steps The process generally begins when a girl is between the ages of 4 and 7. To uncover this little-known history of foot-binding, Bossen and the book’s co-author, researcher Hill Gates, interviewed over 1,800 elderly women in remote villages across China and found that foot-binding was widespread among peasant populations, shattering the belief that foot-binding was a status symbol of the elite. Foot binding is a phenomenon that was existed in acient for more than 2 thousand years. ), ordered by an empress who had a clubfoot. In total, a young girl would endure twelve years or more of excruciating pain through this extreme body modification technique. Carried out on girls as young as four, the practice involves breaking toes to manipulate the feet into a lotus shape. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1381134/pdf/amjph00509-0103.pdf [Accessed 25. 2018]. The tradition of binding one’s feet was backed by the belief system of the Neo-Confucian Doctrine, which was the dominant way of thinking in China during this time. Process. This resulted in men who belonged to the higher classes of society only choosing to marry women of comparable status whose families could afford to support them. The earliest relevant written records date to the 13th century and refer to the fame of the dancing girls with tiny feet and beautiful bow shoes at the court of the Southern Tang Dynasty (937-975) in southern-central China. Extremely small votive shoes would be placed on the household altar which showcased the skills of the woman who had made them. They wouldn't break their big toe because they needed it to keep their balance. A bandaged bound foot. Adapted in part from open sources. In order for a culture and the traditions that fall within it to survive, it has to have the backing of a system that provides support and legitimacy to its beliefs. In one version, the practice goes back to the earliest documented dynasty, the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BCE–1046 BCE). The process of foot binding was incredibly painful at the time and involved breaking of bones It involved breaking and mutilating toes and bones, while … The process outlined above is a mild version of binding. Disclaimer - MyMed.com is for informational purposes only. Later they bend the toes back towards the ball of the foot ( heels). Foot Binding Process. Soon after branches of the anti-foot binding society began to form in other major cities and across the country. When I read the article about Chinese foot-binding in the Los Angeles Times, I really found it highlighted the complexity of the practice of foot-binding. The process would begin with either the mother of the girl or another older women from her family, such as her grandmother, clipping the toenails of the girl’s feet and then soaking the feet in either hot water or a special concoction of ingredients that ranged from various nuts to herbs. As foot binding progressed, the practice started to become something that symbolised status and wealth. Foot binding was thus thought to enhance a women’s prospects in marriage. Shoes were worn for special events and occasions which included weddings and even in times of mourning. The process of binding a girl’s feet started when she was between the ages of 4 and 9, when the arch of the foot had not yet fully formed. Warm water to help soften the feet. 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