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Chinese Foot Binding

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Chinese Foot Binding

Girls, you probably think you go through a lot to make yourselves look beautiful, right? And you might think that you do more than any girl to make yourselves look as good as possible, right? Wrong. In China, little girls were required to bind their feet for acceptance in society. The pain and suffering these young women had to go through just to achieve a good life was unbelievable.

In order for foot binding to occur, the daughter’s feet had to be soaked in warm water or animal blood. Then a potion was rubbed onto the feet causing all of the dead skin to fall off. After this, she had her nails cut as short as they could possibly go, preventing them from growing too long and breaking the skin on the feet. A foot massage was then given to the girl, which loosened up the feet. Next, the four smallest toes on each foot were broken. Painful, right? I know. After the toes were broken, a bandage was wrapped around the smallest ones and pulled tightly around the heel. This pulled the feet as close together as possible. After every two days, the bandages would be removed, and then put back on even tighter, pulling on the foot even more. This process lasted about two years, making the new length of the foot approximately four to five inches long. And to ensure the foot stayed this way, the process would continue on this poor little girl for another ten years. But pain wasn’t the only harmful thing that occurred because of this torturing ritual. Infections were the most common side effects. These were caused by either toe nails curving into the foot rotting the skin, or the ball of the foot actually touching the heel. After about three years of this continuance, the feet died. Now, besides all of the pain these girls had to go through, they carried a reeking smell with them every where. Diseases were caused by the infections, and some people even died because of this. This entire process made it very difficult to walk and even more difficult to keep your balance.

It would seem very difficult to find a good enough reason for this sick custom, but at the time, women didn’t have a choice. Foot binding was started in around the tenth century during the Sung Dynasty. At that time, men wouldn’t marry women who didn’t have bound feet. Women who didn’t have their feet bound were considered to have “clown feet”. Foot binding was mainly for sex. In China, women never really had a say in anything, so they basically always had to listen to the man and do what the men wanted. And the foot binding tightened the pelvic muscle, which pleased the men.

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