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Foot Binding History

Decent Essays
Body modifications have been a cultural tradition since the ancient times in many parts of the world. Whether its body paint, foot binding, scarification of beautiful patterns from the face to the feet, lip plating, nose and ear gauging or even tattooing, we change the way we can look significantly (Tanne). People typically alter their bodies for beauty and the love of other individuals or even sometimes for a rite of passage to become a man or a woman. In almost every society throughout history, women have been pushed to undergo crucial and often horrible physical modifications in the name of beauty and social status. Imaginably, one of the most agonizing body modifications in all of history is the ancient Chinese tradition of foot binding.
Foot binding is an archaic tradition that involves the reshaping of the woman's feet to achieve a smaller, more crescent-like foot.
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“The first recorded binding occurred in the Five Dynasties and Ten States period in the 10th century” (Schiavenza). The most popular stories are based on articles written by Schiavenza, Foreman and Strochlic; there was a dancer named Yao Niang, who bound her feet in the shape of moon and danced on a stage of lotus flowers in front of Emperor Li Yu. Many mistresses of elite men tried to duplicate the process, as the foot binding became a sign of wealth and beauty. This particular practice spread across China and took an interest in women who wanted to marry into riches. The size of rich girl’s feet was placed into categories, “gold lotus, silver lotus and iron lotuses” (Foreman). Iron lotus meant your feet were too big, and the chance of marriage was slim while the gold lotus foot was very desirable. Being poor, in my opinion, seems like the exceptional way to live without limiting your way of everyday life. Being beautiful comes with costly and painful
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