My Books. My Life.

"Let us read and let us dance – two amusements that will never do any harm to the world." ~Voltaire~

Snow Flower and Foot Binding April 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 7:43 pm

I am currently reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.  Last night I read the chapter on foot binding.  It was one of the most difficult things to get through that I've ever read.  I never understood what foot binding actually was – I think I just thought that feet were prevented from growing somehow.  I can't believe that centuries of Chinese girls were forced to undergo this excruciating process.  And this went on up until the 1920s – until human rights and women's rights groups got involved.  I ended up researching it online last night because the chapter affected me so much.  I know most of you have already read this book – did you have a similar reaction?

PS – I will never complain about my pointe shoes again.  They are a million times more humane than the shoes and bindings these girls were forced to wear.

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4 Responses to “Snow Flower and Foot Binding”

  1. Emily Says:

    I had the exact same reaction. I never really fully understood what it was either. While reading Snow Flower I googled images of feet that had been bound and was completely horrified. I read more about it online, and I'm still fascinated by it.

  2. Yes, it was a pretty horrendous practice. I remember going to a museum exhibition on various types of body modification once adn it included stuff on foot binding as well as those people who wear rings around their legs, put plates in their lips etc. The most bad for the body practices normally the ones performed on women.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    I did have a similar reaction. I took a chinese history course, and was aware of the process. It's unbelievable.

  4. Kristie Says:

    I hadn't even really heard of foot binding til I read this book. It was so horrible! I couldn't imagine going through that. And to think of a foot being about 4-5 inches (ideally) just blew my mind. Like Emily said, I googled pictures of bound feet and I stuck one in the book–it's horrendous! If you're ever planning on reading Peony in Love (sorry, can't remember if you have already or not) there isn't anything about footbinding in it, so don't let it deter you for that reason 🙂


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