Extreme Beauty: Small Feet Are Sexy

In the 13th century foot-binding was a common tradition among Chinese women. Young girls aged from 4 to 7, while bones were still flexible, began their two year foot-binding process that bent, twisted and compressed the feet.

The desired size was 3 inches or less, the toes, excusing the big toe, were bent beneath the front pad of the foot. Meanwhile, the front of the foot was pulled back to touch the heel, folding the whole foot in half. In the course of the process, there needed continual changing of binding cloths and cleaning of the foot, in case the flesh started to decay.

When foot-binding became at its most popular, women and their families and husbands took great pride in their small feet and achieving the perfect ‘Lotus Shape’. Walking was difficult and caused bending of the knees slightly and swaying to walk properly. This swaying walk became known as the Lotus Gait and men considered it as sexually arousing. Weight put on the folded toes would be excruciatingly painful. However, the heel, which lined up with the axis of the leg bone, could hold the body’s weight quite comfortably. Thus, the Chinese designed shoes which lifted the toes off the ground and kept all the body’s weight on the heel. Walking was still possible but awkward.

The shoes were made from highly expensive silk and velvet, consisting of elaborate designs with flower and Taoist symbols of happiness and prosperity. What a joke.

Below shows just how this process of foot-binding can have a great effect on your life. Never to walk properly again.

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5 thoughts on “Extreme Beauty: Small Feet Are Sexy

  1. patricialip says:

    I’ve been told since I was young. I didn’t really consider that’s an issue when I was just a innocent child. Today, probably because I experience and am being exposed to different cultures and social matters, I feel sorry for the ladies who had to bind their feet in early centuries. Many were even died of severe pain.
    They were imbued with a belief that small feet means beauty. What’s more, women had to suffer from social disdain if they didn’t have small feet.
    There’s also a rumor saying that the Chinese women were languished to bind feet in the past when man still dominated the world because women, especially of the upper classes were not allowed to go out (meeting people or shopping, etc). So, that’s one of the ways to keep them staying at home to work on their duty.

    • zdavidson246 says:

      Did you know anyone who had their feet bound? I just feel strongly that women end up getting the bad end of the stick. But then it could relate to the whole men dominate the exterior world and women the interior world. But why should women suffer in pain at home whilst the men drink with friends? I imagine many women suffered from depression due to the pain, isolation and… slavery? Just made to work? Luckily this tradition is becoming less popular.

  2. patricialip says:

    No, I don’t. Probably my great-great grandma. Women couldn’t complete because they had much lower social identity than men in Chinese conservative culture. By the way, talking about body beauty, there’s a race called Karen inhabiting in Mae Hong Son, a remote countryside in north-west Thailand.
    Check this out, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL8ARB5FmsA

    • zdavidson246 says:

      Thanks for the link was really interesting! I guess the women don’t think it is harsh themselves as it’s just a way of life for them. Was interesting to see the woman’s reaction when she saw her neck for the first time. Was long and slim.

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