Sunday, January 10, 2010

Small and Careful Steps (cuz they hurt!) Post 2

Chinese foot-binding, just the thought of it sounded horrendous and very painful. This made me think about how much beauty costs for women. I'm the kind of person that won't shell out hundreds of dollars for heels; just the thought of it makes me want to faint. But there are girls out there that are willing to spend so much money on shoes that are beautiful (yes I'm sad to admit) but are costly both physically and financially. If someone were to tell me that they bought heels for more than 200 dollars I'd tell them they are crazy! Actually, anyone that buys painful shoes are crazy! But back to my point, women in Asia have paid a great price for beauty and the promise of marriage; one of these are foot-binding. In Dorothy Ko's article, she talks about how foot-binding was first started by the imperial family. I thought about how this kind of relates to us today. Today we look at celebrities (I guess they are royalty today) for trends. We are pulled in to think that expensive and I guess pain is tolerable in order to look good. In my head I always wondered why girls would wear heels to school (yes school). I mean sure it makes you look taller, but imagine walking in those all day! Our school is huge, I'd rather save me the pain and trouble of trying to pair my heels with my outfit, and wear my comfortable Nike's all day. This leads me to another reason to why foot-binding was so popular in ancient China. Clothing itself was a sign of status. Ko talks about how having the correct attire "headdress, dress, and shoes--was the quintessential expression of civility, culture, humanity, all being ramifications of wen." She also talked about how "getting dressed was thus at once a cultural act, one that distinguished humans from beasts, and a political act". (Ko pg.84) Does this mean that the binding of women's feet was a way of oppression? It most definitely is! It was even suggested by a ranking officer during the 1600's that they should use foot-binding as a means of subduing the "barbarians". All in all, the saying that "pain is beauty" is true, in a way. But if it were today I wouldn't give a rat's ass (pardon my language) about what they find is beautiful. I'd rather have my feet comfortable and leave them the way they are.

April Gatpayat

Post 2 -- video link

Ko, Dorothy. "The Body As Attire: The Shifting Meanings of Foot-binding in Seventeenth-Century China." Journal of Women's History (1997). Print.

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