Foot binding and the Female Image

The practice of binding feet dates back to 960, it was a form of fashion and beauty that women from every economic standing practiced. The elegance emerged from the covered, unknown delicacy that bound feet encompassed. Today a Western view of foot binding can be seen as a brutal, forceful way to confine women. There are many different ideas that surround the practice, even within China; foot binding was a marker of ethnic boundaries. Among other connotations, foot binding embodies the female image and symbolizes men’s view on woman.

Foot binding is an old practice and expression of Chinese wen civility. Today around the world there is a charge to recognize women’s equality within society, which is another reason people looking back at the process see it as a sign of inequality. Today’s view on foot binding and the view hundreds of years ago remains the same in some aspects; the binding of feet is a way to label women as a delicate object that belongs to men.

shall we take this as thesis claim and the writing can start from here? Chinese men during the era of foot binding saw the tiny, covered feet as a form of sexual pleasure, a way to establish a difference between the women and the ‘barbarians’. Some women appreciated the practice of foot binding because it raised their social status, and enhanced their beauty and femininity.

When analyzing this image the viewer initially sees the woman in the background with bound feet, an ofootbindingrnate headdress, and the man in the foreground dressed in traditional Chinese apparel examining her feet. The woman’s face is shielded so it is difficult to understand her facial expression, but the man looks very inquisitive. Connotatively, one might assume only the woman’s face is covered because women were seen as more submissive than men, and during this time covering everything was the norm for women. The man seems to not only be looking at her feet, but also judging them and seems appealed that this woman went through the foot binding process. Her face is less important than the fact that her feet are bound and that she is properly expressing the female image. stay with the statement of “the boundfeet as man’s sexual desiring object.”

no need of working on another image but stay with the one you have worked on and examine in depth. 

On the surface this is an image of a Chinese family posing for a family portrait. The men are sitting one side and the women are on the other. They are all dressed in robes and the woman and girl have bound feet. With a deeper understanding of this image one can reason that the women in this photfootbindingo symbolize the female image of Chinese culture. The men are looking at the camera, they appear more relaxed while the women’s feet are bound, and they are sitting very submissively making a conscious effort to not look towards the camera.

Although only two images were analyzed where the practice of foot binding is evident, there are many more accounts of women who lived a submissive life beginning at a very young age when their feet were broken and bound.  This process enabled them to become a part of the female image of elegance and delicacy. Foot binding is a symbol of gender norms in China, and added an element to the female image that became so prevalent in China and around the world.