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History of Gender Commons

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Grand Valley State University

Asian Studies

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Why Chinese Neo-Confucian Women Made A Fetish Of Small Feet, Aubrey L. Mcmahan Dec 2012

Why Chinese Neo-Confucian Women Made A Fetish Of Small Feet, Aubrey L. Mcmahan

Grand Valley Journal of History

Abstract for “Why Chinese Neo-Confucian Women Made a Fetish of Small Feet

This paper explores the source of the traditional practice of Chinese footbinding which first gained popularity at the end of the Tang dynasty and continued to flourish until the last half of the twentieth century.[1] Derived initially from court concubines whose feet were formed to represent an attractive “deer lady” from an Indian tale, footbinding became a wide-spread symbol among the Chinese of obedience, pecuniary reputability, and Confucianism, among other things.[2],[3] Drawing on the analyses of such scholars as Beverly Jackson, Valerie Steele and John ...