BEIJING, May 30 — Foot-binding, one of China’s bizarre traditions, has puzzled researchers for years — but now a new book claims work was the real reason for the practice.
Bound feet, Young hands, published by Stanford University Press, contends that foot-binding was a method to confine young girls to their homes for long hours in order to make goods such as cloth, shoes and mats.
It also claims that foot-binding only began to decline in some areas where cheaper factory-made alternatives became available.
Foot-binding was an ancient Chinese custom, which modified the shape of young girls’ feet by binding them with cloth.
Conventional explanations of the tradition suggest that somehow women’s tiny, crippled feet were alluring to men and the ideal of beauty.
“You have to link hands and feet. Foot-bound women did valuable handwork at home in cottage industries. The image of them as idle sexual trophies is a grave distortion of history,” Laurel Bossen, co-author of the new book, told CNN. — Reuters