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Foot Binding Essay

1029 words - 5 pages

Foot Binding the 20th Century
Women have been trying to modify their bodies since the beginning of time and this has not changed to the present day. Today women use many types of products to change the way they look to create societies image of perfection. The use of makeup and other topical products is seen to be the norm and if you don’t use them you are usually not seen as put together as other women. Also today women today have many more drastic and permanent option that women in the past could not use. Women today can undergo cosmetic surgery. In fact, the amount of women that get liposuction is 55%, 47% get tummy tucks, 21% get breast enlargements and 24% of women get Botox ...view middle of the document...

Women were molded and shaped into whatever their husbands wanted. Moreover, families would “inflict dreadful pain on growing girls [which] emphasized their role as erotic playthings” (Rhodes 48).
Foot binding also enforced the role of women in the household. Most girls were not allowed to have a formal education and had very specific roles. For example, women of lower class were majorly involved in the agricultural aspect of the family income. Also, “[they] were usually the major workers in the cottage industry, producing handicraft goods for sale or for barter” (Rhodes 51). On the other hand women of upper class families were expected to not be seen. In fact foot binding emphasized this because it immobilized women to the house because they could not move without being in major amounts of pain. Moreover, “foot binding is hard for us to understand, but the idea was that a women’s foot, considered a sex object, should be tiny, a so called ‘lily foot’” (Rhodes 155). This was, at first, only common in a few upper class families but then became widespread and common amongst many families.
When foot binding was finally out lawed in the late 20th century many people still had to deal with deformities, even though they we less severe, and many families still preformed the practice. Foot binding also had a large impact on the elderly, who had completed the foot binding process. Moreover by the end of the 20th century “bounded feet were found in 38% of women older than age 80 and in 18% of 70- through 79-year-olds; 33 women (17.1%) older than age 70 had had their feet bound but released early” (Cummings). With the lack of proper foot structure most of the women with completely bound feet were prone to fall, which can become a major problem if they injure themselves further when they fall (Cummings). Also elderly women have a hard time rising from a chair or squatting which be very...

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