Saturday, August 18, 2007
Body Mutilation-Chinese Foot Binding
I love medical history and the idea that what we do today will seem barbaric to cultures in the future. One such ancient practice is Chinese foot binding. This practice, which went on for over 1000 years took foot fetish to a national high. At age 3 a little girls toes were broken and bent underneath the foot and wrapped in tight cloth. The goal was "three inch golden lotus" feet and it was the only way a woman could marry and the family receive a proper dowry.
Clearly the practice was incredibly painful and restricted movement. Girls and women couldn't walk or run and this made women dependent upon men. It was such a part of the culture, that the horror of mutilating women's feet seems to have been lost on the entire society. The practice was banned by the government in 1912 but foot binding continued in secret for many years after.
Female genital mutilation on the African subcontinent is yet another cultural practice that continues today and needs to be eradicated. Sometimes it is hard to believe we are in the 21st Century when such practices occur to millions of women.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 7:30 PM