By Wang Ping
Asian Studies/Women's experiences a desirable and haunting exploration of the sure 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 soreness, and hampered mobility all through their lives? What pressured moms to bind the ft in their younger daughters, forcing the women to stroll approximately on their doubled-over limbs to accomplish the breakage of bones needful for three-inch ft? Why did chinese language males locate women's "golden lotuses"-stench and all-so arousing, inspiring good looks contests for toes, millions of poems, and erotica during which sure, silk-slippered toes have been fetishized and lusted after? As a baby starting to be up in the course of the Cultural Revolution, Wang Ping fantasized approximately binding her personal ft and attempted to limit their progress by means of wrapping them in elastic bandages. although footbinding used to be now not practiced by way of each girl in overdue Imperial China, the classy, monetary, and erotic merits of footbinding permeated all points of language, starting from erotic poetry, novels, and performances to nutrients writing, myths, folks songs and ditties, and mystery women's writing, a few of it hidden in embroidery. In Aching for good looks, 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 considered only as a functionality of men's oppression of girls, yet really as a phenomenon of female and male wish deeply rooted in conventional chinese language tradition. Written in a chic and strong kind, and choked with own, interesting, and occasionally paradoxical insights, Aching for attractiveness builds bridges from the prior to the current, East to West, background to literature, mind's eye to fact. Wang Ping, born in Shanghai, got here to the U.S. in 1985. Her books comprise brief tales, American Visa (1994); a unique, overseas satan (1996); and poetry, Of Flesh and Spirit (1998). She additionally edited and cotranslated New iteration: Poems from China this day (1999). She has a Ph.D. in comparative literature from ny college and teaches artistic writing at Macalester university in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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Extra resources for Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China
Golden Lotus tied the silken ribbon for him and his staff stood up. He was still asleep. She mounted upon his body. [She anointed some medicine on the tip of his penis, then inserted it inside her vagina. ] Her body seemed to melt away with delight. Then, with her two hands grasping his legs, she moved up and down about two hundred times. ] Hsi-men Ch'ing let her do everything she wished, but himself was perfectly inert. She could bear it no longer. She put her tongue into his mouth. She held his neck and shook it.
Such an achievement within half a month! More than I had expected. I got a longer pair of bandages and made bed slippers. After binding, I put them on so that the binding would remain tight. Five days later, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my feet. I unbound the wrapping and saw that the fifth toes were broken and infected. I cleaned and cushioned them with cotton balls. The binding was so unbearably painful that my body trembled all over. I told myself that if I was afraid of pain, all the effort and suffering for the past half a month would be thrown away.
And of course, the mother, out of her love, refused. When she got older, and when she saw her cousins at her same age as a mirror for the mapping of her social and sexual body, she finally got the message of footbinding. Her uncle's cruel comment and mocking triggered her sense of shame; in Chinese terms, the humiliation and fear of losing face prompted the nineyear-old girl to endure the inhuman pain of reshaping her feet. On the one hand, her superhuman will to endure pain prepares her to find a secure foothold in the capricious environment of male discourse (her uncle mocks her in public when her feet are bigger than the three-inch model, then scolds her severely when he sees her obsession in reducing the size of her feet).
Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China by Wang Ping