As I read the newspaper story, my eyes widen with every word, "According to the National Institute of Mental Health there are over 5 million people in the United States suffering with eating disorders. 1% of all North American teenagers have eating disorders. 10% of these teenagers will die. People struggling with anorexia are among those whose health are at great risk…"( www.planet-therapy.com) And then I see a picture of a young girl, nothing but bones and skin, looking wasted away. I ask myself, "What won't people do for'beauty'?"
They say, "True beauty comes from within." However true this statement may be, in almost every society throughout history, women have been required to undergo major and often painful physical alterations in the name of beauty and social status. Perhaps one of the most agonizing beatifications in all of history is the Chinese tradition of foot binding.
Foot binding is an ancient tradition that involves the reshaping of the woman's feet to achieve a smaller foot. Accompanied by unimaginable pain and crippling limitations, Chinese foot binding is a testament to how far humans will go to be beautiful. As with most other beautification processes, such as ear piercing or tattooing, Chinese foot binding has significant cultural and social implications. In addition, using modern technology, we can also see the physiological effects of foot binding.
Foot binding began in the late T’ang Dynasty (618-906) and it gradually spread through the upper class during the Song Dynasty (960-1297). During the Ming period (1368-1644) and the Ching Dynasty (1644-1911) the custom of foot binding spread through the overwhelming majority of the Chinese population (Mo-ch;n, 65). It began with the emperor Li Yu of the T;ang Dynasty who, acting on his fetish for small feet, instructed his favorite concubine, Lovely Maiden, to bind her feet in silk cloth in ord…

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