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.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess most of the world is too busy focusing on what the Americans are doing wrong, to pay any attention to these horrid practices

Rich said...

Those photos actually made me a bit nauseous and I don't usually get nauseous easily. whew!!!

K said...

The gap between the heel and toes is simultaneously grossing me out and making me want to poke at the area to see how it feels and how exactly such a thing works.

Also, obviously, not a huge fan at all of practices which continue misogyny and unnecessary, harmful, unwilling mutilation.

Kate Isis said...

Makes you wonder what sort of a man finds this attractive.

Sid Schwab said...

I trained in SF (wrote a book about it!), and saw a couple of elderly Chinese women whose feet had been bound. Fascinating and revolting. I mentioned it in my blog as well; there are some additional pictures and xrays, if anyone's interested.

Toni Brayer MD said...

Sid Schwab, thanks for the link. Fascinating cultural practice.

Anonymous said...

hey think a litel: we do tattos and makes hokes in yours boddys to use a peace of metal in there. what is this? beautiful fachion or mutilation of yopur own boddy? please, is the tradition, is not of macabre. somo tribes cut ther finghers out, because someone very love die. other cut the own boddy to look-a-like a crocodille. we have o respect this, because that chinese old lady hate the hole in ours boddys.
if the guys think that that foot was atractiv, of course the girls want look sexys. if they have to broke ther foot, well, they will do that. that is no more that the beauty idials spaek louddly. respecte that, and dont say that this feet makes you nauseas: is a derespect for the tradicion, and the past.

sorry my bad inglish.

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That is truly disgusting stuff, there are some traditions that I find disturbing and weird, this for example and the other that women put some kind of rings in their necks just to look like a giraffe.

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It's all about cultures and different thoughts. I think Chinese women are changing, specially in this modernity because they are smart people and this is part of the past.

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