Women bound for sex
It was considered preferable to have someone other than the mother do it, as she might have been sympathetic to her daughter's pain and less willing to keep the bindings tight. Some men preferred never to see a woman's bound feet, so they were always concealed within tiny "lotus shoes" and wrappings. Girls whose toes were more fleshy would sometimes have shards of glass or pieces of broken tiles inserted within the binding next to her feet and between her toes to cause injury and introduce infection deliberately. The gangrene would cause the toes to rot and eventually fall off the feet, making them even smaller. It was generally an elder female member of the girl's family or a professional foot binder who carried out the initial breaking and ongoing binding of the feet. Whatever the reason, Chinese foot binding probably persisted for more than 1, years, a reminder of how much society can sometimes expect women to suffer for beauty. Disease inevitably followed infection, meaning that death from septic shock could result from foot-binding, and a surviving girl was more at risk for medical problems as she grew older.
However, as the girl grew older, the bones would begin to heal. It is however argued that such injunction applies less to women, rather it is meant to emphasize the sacred link between sons and their parents. Bones in the girls' feet would often be deliberately broken again in order to further change the size or shape of the feet. According to Robert van Gulik , the bound feet were also considered the most intimate part of a woman's body; in erotic art of the Qing to Song periods where the genitalia may be shown, the bound feet were never depicted uncovered. Wikimedia CommonsShoes meant for women with bound feet. Disease inevitably followed infection, meaning that death from septic shock could result from foot-binding, and a surviving girl was more at risk for medical problems as she grew older. The bindings were pulled even tighter each time the girl's feet were rebound. Wikimedia CommonsYoung Chinese girl with bound feet. Bound feet nevertheless became a significant differentiating marker between Han women and Manchu or other banner women. The small, swaying steps that women with bound feet had to take were considered very seductive. However, once a foot had been crushed and bound, attempting to reverse the process by unbinding was painful,  and the shape could not be reversed without a woman undergoing the same pain all over again. Women with feet this small were considered extremely desirable to men. According to Ko, the perception of footbinding as a civilised practice may be evinced from a Ming dynasty account that mentioned a proposal to "entice [the barbarians] to civilize their customs" by encouraging footbinding among their womenfolk. Upper-class women, hoping to attract the attention of an emperor themselves, starting binding their own feet to make them smaller. If these infections spread to the bloodstream, as they often did, then the girl was at risk of dying from septic shock. Women with such deformed feet avoided placing weight on the front of the foot and tended to walk predominantly on their heels. So, foot binding was a way for families to increase the odds of their daughters marrying well. A Qing Dynasty sex manual actually lists 48 different ways that men could incorporate the bound feet of their lovers into sexual activity. Sometimes, the binders put shards of broken glass up against the cloth in order to deliberately introduce infections and cause the toes to fall off. And in Imperial China, nothing was considered more erotic than a woman having a tiny foot. Reform-minded Chinese intellectuals began to consider footbinding to be an aspect of their culture that needed to be eliminated. The broken toes were then tightly bound with cotton strips, preventing them from healing properly. Then, the toenails were cut back to prevent infections. First, the feet were soaked in a mixture of animal blood to soften them. Some men preferred never to see a woman's bound feet, so they were always concealed within tiny "lotus shoes" and wrappings. The toenails frequently grew back into the swollen flesh of the feet, which lead to horrible infections.
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