Download e-book for kindle: Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China by Wang Ping

By Wang Ping

ISBN-10: 0816636052

ISBN-13: 9780816636051

ISBN-10: 0816636060

ISBN-13: 9780816636068

Asian Studies/Women's experiences a desirable and haunting exploration of the certain foot in chinese language tradition. Why did such a lot of chinese language ladies over a thousand-year interval bind their ft, enduring rotting flesh, throbbing ache, and hampered mobility all through their lives? What pressured moms to bind the toes in their younger daughters, forcing the women to stroll approximately on their doubled-over limbs to accomplish the breakage of bones considered necessary for three-inch ft? Why did chinese language males locate women's "golden lotuses"-stench and all-so arousing, inspiring good looks contests for ft, millions of poems, and erotica within which sure, silk-slippered toes have been fetishized and lusted after? As a toddler transforming into up throughout the Cultural Revolution, Wang Ping fantasized approximately binding her personal toes and attempted to limit their development by means of wrapping them in elastic bandages. although footbinding was once no longer practiced by means of each girl in past due Imperial China, the cultured, monetary, and erotic benefits of footbinding permeated all features of language, starting from erotic poetry, novels, and performances to meals writing, myths, folks songs and ditties, and mystery women's writing, a few of it hidden in embroidery. In Aching for attractiveness, Wang translates the secret of footbinding as a part of a womanly heritage-"a roaring ocean present of woman language and culture." She additionally indicates that footbinding shouldn't be seen only as a functionality of men's oppression of ladies, yet fairly as a phenomenon of female and male hope deeply rooted in conventional chinese language tradition. Written in a sublime and robust type, and jam-packed with own, exciting, and infrequently paradoxical insights, Aching for attractiveness builds bridges from the earlier to the current, East to West, heritage to literature, mind's eye to fact. Wang Ping, born in Shanghai, got here to the U.S. in 1985. Her books contain brief tales, American Visa (1994); a singular, international satan (1996); and poetry, Of Flesh and Spirit (1998). She additionally edited and cotranslated New new release: Poems from China at the present time (1999). She has a Ph.D. in comparative literature from manhattan collage and teaches artistic writing at Macalester university in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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The removal of the shoe/surface/mask is the end of eroticism. Yet death seeps through the bandages, strong and odorous, no matter how much perfumed powder a woman sprinkles on her feet. The lotus foot is known for its peculiar odor. It is a smell of the living flesh being discontinued by a deadly bondage, a smell of life and death, of dirt and purity fermenting and brewing in exuberance within a tightly compressed space. Men are either totally repulsed by or addicted to this odor, but no one can ignore it.

I was so ashamed I began to weep. I wished I could cut my feet into a smaller size on the spot. At that moment, I was determined to bind my feet much more tightly no matter how painful it was. That night, after I unbound my bandages, I tore my handkerchief into strips and sewed them to the bandages to make them longer. I pressed the four small toes as far as possible to the plantar, wrapped them once, then arched my foot by tightening the bandage over the heel and back. After wrapping my foot like this four times, I inserted the end of the bandage into the plantar and put on my shoes.

I don't know when this custom began; It must have been invented by a despicable man. (Jia Shen 1990,175) When Yuan Mei (1716-98), the scholar and poet who opposed footbinding in his essays, heard of this incident, he wrote to Zhao, saying that tiny feet alone could not make a woman beautiful. It was the well-proportioned and balanced body and soul that made beauty. In his other essays, he criticized the cultural fixation on bound feet more directly: "What is the good of making a woman's feet so small because every generation is mad about this?

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Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China by Wang Ping

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