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The practice of Foot-Binding entered into Mainstream Chinese culture around the 12th and 13th centuries (Feng 236), a time when the emerging conservative movement and the creation of a new social class system severely lowered the status of women. The restructuring of the social class system was driven by new and increased prosperity and created a new and higher standard of living that was enjoyed by the new upper class of scholars and farmers. The higher standard of living of the once lower stature classes and the emergence of the increased emphasis on a women’s chastity, left women only one clear option, that is to use the one thing that could be under their and their families control, that is their bodies. The foot-binding movement and ultimately the anti-foot-binding movement were vehicles for a female voice and participation in the social and political changes of the day. The foot-binding movement was not a fashion statement nor was it an un-sensibly inhumane to the women of china; the foot-binding process was a process that was viewed, as part of one’s culture and that must be continued. It was through this understanding of the necessity of the continuance of the tradition, which women discovered that foot biding was a way for them to gain power and social mobility.
Throughout the book, The Three-Inch Golden Lotus, The main character, Fragrant Lotus, demonstrates the slow understanding how she can use her bound feet and how bound-feet in general, had allowed for increased power for women since the 12th century. Moreover, Fragrant Lotus developed an understanding of how foot binding allowed for the historical maintenance of the Chinese societies sole reliance on cultural and customs to dictate the path of society as a whole...
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...table family structure even when a new wife entered her husband’s family. Overall, The psychological process behind foot binding was the process that was cemented in fulfillment of tradition. That psychological process and mindset that has driven Chinese society and traditions can be summarized by the beliefs that the key to beauty is pain, beauty brings virtue, virtue leads to stability which leads to a stable family which creates a stable nation.
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Finnane, Antonia. Changing Clothes in China: Fashion, History, Nation. New York: Columbia UP, 2008.
Greenhalgh, Susan. Bound Feet, Hobbled Lives: Women in Old China. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies (1977): 7-21.
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