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Foot Binding Essay

1390 words - 6 pages

Many men in the 21st century find big breast and a big rear end a very attractive quality on a woman, but in China during the 10th to 20th century (Ward 530), two and three inch feet's were the most attractive part of a woman. Many people do not realize the importance or the reasons behind foot binding, but then again many people do not realize the important behind cultures they are not involved in.To obtain these two to three and a half inches feet, girls would have their feet bound as early as the age of two. The time the ceremony for a girl's feet binding would all depended on the family and their beliefs, sometimes it would be in the beginning of autumn so that the cold weather could help numb the feet during her critical first months. Others thought that on the girl's birthday was the best day because they believed that the girl's feet were their softest on that day. But most believed the nineteenth day of the lunar month, the birthday of Kuan Yin, (Lee) the goddess of mercy was the best day for the ceremony. Her name meaning "she who looketh down and hears the cries of the world" was supposed to hear the girl's cries and give mercy. (Lee) It was normally the father who performed the ceremony, but sometimes a close family member or friend would be the ever so daring helping hand. The event of a daughter's ceremony was one of the most important, and proud days in a mother's life. This is the day that her daughter would be able to socialize with her friends, or be introduced to new friendships. It was also the day that the mother was able to show off her daughter to her friends, and celebrate this important occasion with them. This event was so special to a girl's family that family members are known to travel great distances to witness and celebrate the joyous occasion with their young relative; even if it meant long uncomfortable rides on carts, or long exhausting walks under the sun.The way the Chinese people bound their daughter's feet were exactly how you would bind anything else. They used a long cotton strip of white cloth that was tied tightly around each foot in a figure eight pattern. In addition, the mother of the girl would have already made a pair of slippers as small as an inch and a half long for her little girl to wear to keep her feet from getting any bigger; that is if their child was still in her early ages. Although the shoe was made too small for the owner, the shoe sized varied depending on the age of the girl. Most girls who went through this began young, but some girls were not able to until they were twelve or thirteen. This is because their families were poor and needed them to work on the farm to help make money.There were many kinds of materials as well as patterns to use on the slippers, and it all depended on how wealthy the families were. Because foot binding was a sign of beauty, the quality of the slipper as well as the stockings were a very important, and noticeable thing. Wealthy families normally used silk...

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