I love Chinese culture as much as I am Chinese, but sometimes it can be really fucked up. Take this for example.
I mean, what the shit is that, yo? This is an awful practice, but Imma tell you why we do it.
Yes, we Chinese people can be as pervy as they come.
So let’s turn back the clock, and it’s like, the Southern Tang Dynasty. Yeah see, there was this this poet-king guy called Li Yu, and man, that dude was as pervy as they come. I mean, lotsa poets are, y’know?
Anyway, there was this palace maiden called Miao Niang, and man, could she dance! She danced sooo well, Li Yu was all, “Hey, can I like totally bind your feet, ‘cause I think if I did, you would like, dance better.”
Miao Niang said yes. She freakin’ said yes.
Everythin’ pretty much went downhill after that, ‘cause this Emperor was totally about his fetish for wimminz with small feet, and he got all hot with lust when he saw her dancing in a gilded wooden lotus decorated with pearls and precious stones. Since then, bound feet became the ideal and the term ‘golden lotus’ means bound feet, and ‘lotus gait’ referred to how them ladies walked with bound feet, and the men thought it was like, an ideal way of walking.
More like ideal way of preventing women from running away from their aggressors.
Soon, all the palace maidens and errbody in the kingdom wanted their feet bound, and many people started sayin’ shit like, OMG, a woman’s figure would improve if she had like, bound feet, her waist would be more slender, her breasts and hips bigger, and they would totally be more shapely. (Bullshit. There was no scientific basis for this claim, whatsoever.)
This fetish was shared by like, so many men, and this tradition just like, went on, dynasty after dynasty. This dude, Li Li-Weng, this poet of the Qing Dynasty, and this fetish made him feel horny, and he went sexing the wimminz in Dadong and Lanzhou (in Gansu province) ‘cause their feet could be held in a man’s hands.
Even the Manchus liked bound feet. Since Manchu women totally didn’t have to taint themselves by binding their feet, (y’know, ‘cause practicing stuff that was Chinese would make them impure,) Emperor Qianlong would head to Yangtze to sex these women up, and Xianfeng would have concubines with such feet.
But finally, in 1911, when there was no more dynastic rule, bound feet were like, finally abolished - woo! It was part of the emancipation of women in China, but obviously the men who liked this fetish complained.
But seriously. How is this hot? There were a shit ton of health issues related to this.
These sort of feet would have really soft bones, ‘cause they would be broken when the girl was a child. The bones would heal, and then they would like, be totally broken again so they’d be like, real soft, and would break really easily.
These feet would also be prone to infection, and though the toenails would be trimmed, they would become totally ingrown, and then the infection would start and the nails would be infected. Gross. It got sooo bad that the toes had to be pulled out completely. Sometimes no blood would flow to the toes, so the girl couldn’t feel her feet at all, so she wouldn’t know if her feet were injured or not. This meant like injuries would get worse and worse, sometimes leading to gangrene. Ugh.
Sometimes, the infection got to the bones, and the toes would drop off, which was even worse, but then errbody thought it was a good thing, and they would bind the poor girl’s feet more tightly. Sometimes, to make that happen, glass or tiles would be put in to cut the feet so that there would be infection. Ewwwwww. These infections could also cause low blood pressure and lead to death, what we now call septic shock. Ugh.
So yes. Binding feet was like, a hundred shades of suck and so not progressive for women, and lotsa Chinese writers now realize that they were wrong. This is one of the great mistakes of Chinese culture, errbody was all, hey, let’s make our wimminz like ornaments ‘cause they’re inferior to men! Cue facepalm here.
But what we can do is celebrate them awesome women of Chinese history AND culture, ‘cause they are so important and have like, contributed a lot to society.
Not to mention that even women who did hard labour couldn’t escape this sick fetish, and would have to perform their chores with their feet fucked up like that. And they did it! So women being fragile and shit is all bullshit, ‘cos these women were working on farms with broken feet and still got shit done.
Is also why some folks believe the Cinderella story actually got its start in China, because in some of the re-tellings the stepsisters cut off their toes to fit into the tiny glass slippers, and why would you cut off your toes to… ooohhhhh.