Feet-binding

Feet-bindingFeet-binding is a cruel practice that disregards the pain and torture inflicted on women. Though once practiced in Old China, it is not practiced now and is regarded as an inhuman act. Today, western travelers may still come across elderly Chinese women, shuffling along on incredibly tiny feet that are disproportionate to the size of their bodies. Tiny feet were thought to enhance a woman's beauty and sexual appeal by ancient Chinese.

The trend of feet binding is thought to have started among dancers in the 9th century, and in time spread to the general population. The binding process began when girls were between two to five years of age. The mothers would wind pieces of white cloth about twenty feet long around the child’s feet, bending all the toes except the big one inward and under the sole of the foot. Large stones were placed on top of the foot to crush the arch. The process took about three years, causing the feet to be deformed. The process was severely painful. The cloth had to be kept wound tightly about the feet for the rest of the woman’s life. Chinese women lived a life of agony.

The mothers who bound their daughters' feet usually had their own feet bound. This meant that they knew the pain their daughters would have to bear. The mothers had no choice, but to bind their daughters' feet. If they did not, their daughters could not marry well. A man would rarely marry a woman with unbound feet unless he was extremely poor.

The foot binding custom was used as a way for men to keep women completely helpless. Every walking movement was filled with pain and suffering. Men used foot binding as a way to control women, to keep them at home at their immediate disposal. Women could never enjoy a walk, let alone run away. Women were men's play toys. They put them where they wanted them to be and they could not move, at least not easily. Men enjoyed playing with their women’s feet. Traditionally a woman, who seldom ventured from home, was perceived as refined, respectable and honorable.

Today this custom has been abolished because there has been a change in Chinese society. Women are no longer constrained and treated as beings of lower status. Modern China, very much influenced by the West, give equal rights to men and women.