Wednesday, December 14, 2005

1890 Feet binding 21st century

California Closets has an interesting example of torture for the sake of perceived beauty in a current ad showing a young woman in a pastel skirt and sweater standing in her closet with about 22 pair of leg and ankle killer 4" heels, with one pair of flats and one pair of athletic shoes. I saw it in Architectural Digest, and the same photo is on their web page,, but showing only about half of the magazine ad. To show off her legs they have her straddling a chair while standing up--I hope it wasn't a long photo shoot.

The only women I see dressed up are at the coffee shop, set for the work day in pants suits or slacks, with fairly sensible shoes. If the heels are higher than 2", the women are 25 or younger. I suppose they might change at work. I wore those torture instruments when I was in my teens and twenties too, but nothing higher than 2 7/8, which I think we called 3". They cause cramping in the calves and arches, sprained ankles, corns and callouses. They contort your torso and probably damage your spine, decreasing efficiency and mobility.

Not unlike the situation that Chinese women endured for the beauty of bound feet. This historical site said it is hard to imagine today, but I don't have any problem at all understanding it. Maybe you'll see the resemblance in these photos.

"Throughout history in all cultures a common ultimate goal is to achieve beauty. Just as all people look different, all people have a different outlook on the question, what is beautiful? For some time in the nineteenth century, in America a definition of beauty included corsets, making women's waists as small as possible. Over time beauty has resulted in a lot of pain and in this instance, resulted in broken ribs and damaged internal organs. Body piercing and tattoos fall under the same category although the consequences are not as severe. Great pain has been suffered for centuries for women to achieve perceived beauty. Probably the most detrimental act was one that approximately one billion women in China have preformed for nearly one thousand years. This act, foot binding, was an attempt to stop the growth of the feet. Foot binding is a bizarre and terrible custom, yet it is hard to understand exactly what foot binding was like with the modern outlook we have today. The reason for women binding their feet went deeper than fashion and reflected the role of women in Chinese society. It was necessary then in China for a woman to have bound feet in order to achieve a good life." Feet binding

1 comment:

Cathy said...

I don't understand why women would wear a high heels greater than an inch. Give me Birkenstocks!