The Symbolism Of Foot Binding In China

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In China, foot binding, a process in which tight pressure is applied to prevent growth, was a desired practice among the higher social classes. The practice originated among the court dancers in the 10th and 11th centuries, and later spread to all social classes. Originally, women whose feet were bound were women who were raised by a wealthy family, and therefore did not need their feet for labor. However, once the practice started to become prevalent among all social classes, it became a symbol of beauty among the Chinese. Because men enjoyed the appearance and beauty of small feet, women continued to practice it because it would help them become married. This was a particular injustice opposed on to women because it made them go through a painful process and way of life in order to be married.…show more content…
As the novel progresses, Wang Lung becomes wealthier and the act of foot binding becomes more salient to him. Although, Wang Lung is aware of O-Lan’s “big feet” when they first meet, it did not bother him until he became more affluent. This is shown in the novel when Buck writes, “she was altogether hideous, but the most hideous of all were her big feet in their loose cotton cloth shoes.” Wang Lung discovers his desire for and attraction for little feet when he meets the concubine Lotus, and brings her into his household. The custom of footbinding shown in the novel displays one of the numerous injustices women were faced with before the revolution, and why it was time for a
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