Sunday, January 10, 2010

# 2 A History of "Uncivilized" Cultural Practices By Tien Dang

Footbinding seems to be believed as a culturally cruel practice performed by Chinese women. However, I did not know that it has a lot of political connections as well. It was practiced for possibly three different reasons: 1. expressing Chinese wen civility, proving loyalty and differentiating between the Han and the Manchu, and as the ornamentation of the body (Ko, 10). As a female, looking at my feet and the picture above, the first thing that comes to mind is "ouch". But there's also something else that comes to mind: this seems to be a historical thing. Many different cultures have various practices that are documented and analyzed for its vulgarity.

It also seems to be a historical and present fact that cultures practice these bodily embellishments. So to what end is it considered vulgar and barbaric, and what is humanizing?

All I have to say is, I'm glad I had my piercings when I was too young to really be afraid of the act of piercing.

I am in no way condoning footbinding, but I guess I see an underlying question that there seems to be a continuous stream of cultural practice that promotes fashion statements. But to produce what is deemed to be fashion, people must overcome physical pain. Have you ever heard of the phrase "Beauty is pain"? Footbinding is a painful experience, I don't doubt it. But there seems to be different versions of this pain that people are overlooking. So then where does the barbarism end and begin when it comes to fashion? What is society condoning to create this realm and belief of fashion?

Some wear heels until their feet grow numbed and bruised. Some aren't even "walkable" and people tend to limp their way on heels.

For the course challenge, there are a few things I'd like to say: 1. I am not much of a shopper since I hate the crowds and I don't like paying for shipping for online purchases. It's not like I don't shop for myself, but they come in sporadic moments, so thank goodness that sporadic moment passed for me. 2. However, now because I am told I can't shop, I'm more interested in shopping. 3. My brother's birthday is coming up. Am I suppose to buy something used for him? My pocket would greatly appreciate that, but I don't think he'll understand that I'm doing it for a project...

Ko, Dorothy. Journal of Women's History; Winter 1997; 8, 4; GenderWatch (GW) pg 8.

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