The Art of ‘Foot Binding’
I’m sure all of you must have heard what about ‘bound feet’ right? Well, for those of you who haven’t heard about it, women were forced to ‘bind’ their feet just for them to look prettier than they already are. Thankfully this isn’t practiced in our country, but unfortunately, it’s still prevalent in China. I definitely won’t get into the technical details of how this process is done because my perspective on this so-called art is completely different. The whole idea of what man wants the woman to be is rather scary and humiliating to an extent. Making your feet look smaller makes you pretty? Well, why don’t you bind your feet, men? There is a belief that the woman with perfectly bound feet or as they say, ‘lotus’ feet is considered extremely erotic in Chinese culture and that woman is likely to have a prestigious marriage.Weird enough, if this is what a man would make a woman do today, she’d probably take her shoe and slap his face in public, or be decent enough and leave him. However positive we are about this today, unfortunately this is still practiced in some parts of China, unknowingly. According to recent news, Ms. Han Qiaoni, a 102 year old woman was the last woman known to have bound feet and who had her toes broken when she was 2. Forever, it has been a patriarchal society where the man decides how the woman must dress, walk, behave, eat, sleep, etc. But, that’s when a feminist comes in and breaks these pathetic beliefs and sets everything right in the world. Since History began, Chinese men have demanded every woman to have bound feet, without realizing the long term disorders she probably faces if the process doesn’t go right, and forever, not just men but even women have made it a practice, more than just practice, but a tradition actually. But thankfully, due to some of the ‘Anti-Foot Binding Campaigns’ this tradition has died out now, but yet, not completely. Moving on, do they still practice the same monstrous tradition today? However, if you’re feet aren’t perfectly bound, you don’t have a prestigious marriage they said, but what happens if our toes break, will you take us to the hospital, no right? China, known for its art and food, also being a country with some unique and incredible traditions that are mythical, but this is definitely a big no-no when it still comes to practice. A woman is believed to have ‘lotus feet’ when her feet are perfectly bound. If this looks like lotus to them, they’re either blind or they haven’t seen a lotus, because this definitely doesn’t look like lotus to me. Moreover, lotus is a flower, who would ever think of making your feet like them? Besides, whenever we speak of ‘lotus feet’ we always consider the ‘softness’ of the feet, definitely not the shape.
However, the process of foot binding not only cripples them physically but mentally too. Some of the physical consequences are an outside swelling of the abdomen, a line down the back due to the muscle stress and the lumbar vertebrae would curve forward. It also lowers her pelvis because she tends to put more pressure on her lower body. Foot binding not only affected the woman’s feet, but her entire body this way. Yet, they were considered pretty, give me a break. The girls would barely walk straight, so they walked from side to side in a swaying position, so that they don’t trip and fall. But, eventually their feet grow, they didn’t remain small. But as they grew, they were more deformed and crooked. Yet, she apparently looked pretty to the men. It’s a good thing that women don’t bind their feet anymore, but there are people still living with their feet bound. Several women still undergo physiological disorders due to their bound feet. Nevertheless, the Anti-Foot Binding Campaigns dud come to the rescue and still are rescuing little girls in Chinese villages who unfortunately still practice the ‘art’ of having bound feet.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Sonia David, our Intern. Sonia is a funky and sweet girl who is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Communicative English from Jyoti Nivas College, Autonomous in Bangalore. She loves writing, sketching and reading. She believes that women deserve much more and together, women can turn the world right side up!