Footbinding Essay

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Liliana C. Melo Professor Janet Storti English 101.5767 Paper No. 3, Draft No. 1 October 26, 2006 Footbinding … The Path towards Beauty and Pain "If you love your daughter, bind her feet; if you love your son, let him study," - Old Chinese Saying - Throughout time women have deformed, mutilated, bounded, changed, manipulated, damaged, and altered their bodies not only to survive in the society, but also to satisfy the men sexually. Footbinding was just one of the many ways in which Chinese women participated in and became bound to patriarchy. Chinese footbinding was implemented in the Chinese cultural values and traditions and wasn’t just about alluring a man with the “Golden Lotus.” The little girls of wealthy Chinese families had their feet bent double, sometimes with bones broken, and bound that way making them barely able to walk so the pain was lovely. In addition, footbinding symbolized the Chinese nation, civilized man, and the patriarchal power. However, it was the manner to introduce a young girl to the patriarchal power that would exist and dictate a woman throughout her entire life. In the chapter III “Footbinding and the Cult of the Exemplary Woman” of the book Aching for Beauty by Wang Ping describes the footbinding as a duality due to not only its beauty and charm, but also its deformity and foul odor. The oscillation between moral restriction and great expenditure not only affected women, but also affected the economy, culture, as well as language. “The rise of footbinding, together with the rise of the cult of the exemplary woman, symbolizes the social, political, and cultural predicaments in the late imperial period” (Ping 55). Footbinding was the tool to threaten the peasants and foreign invasions. In order to deal with the political and economic problems, the system imposed heavy taxes, secret police, strict laws, and

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