Bound Feet & Western Dress by Pang-Mei Natasha ChangIn China, a woman is nothing.
Thus begins the saga of a woman born at the turn of the century to a well-to-do, highly respected Chinese family, a woman who continually defied the expectations of her family and the traditions of her culture. Growing up in the perilous years between the fall of the last emperor and the Communist Revolution, Chang Yu-is life is marked by a series of rebellions: her refusal as a child to let her mother bind her feet, her scandalous divorce, and her rise to Vice President of Chinas first womens bank in her later years.
In the alternating voices of two generations, this dual memoir brings together a deeply textured portrait of a womans life in China with the very American story of Yu-is brilliant and assimilated grandniece, struggling with her own search for identity and belonging. Written in pitch-perfect prose and alive with detail, Bound Feet and Western Dress is the story of independent women struggling to emerge from centuries of customs and duty.
Living with bound feet
Bound Feet & Western Dress
Foot binding was the custom of applying tight binding to the feet of young girls to modify the shape and size of their feet. The practice possibly originated among upper class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in 10th century China, then gradually became popular among the elite during the Song dynasty. Foot binding eventually spread to most social classes by the Qing dynasty and the practice finally came to an end in the early 20th century. Bound feet were at one time considered a status symbol as well as a mark of beauty. Yet, foot binding was a painful practice and significantly limited the mobility of women, resulting in lifelong disabilities for most of its subjects. Feet altered by binding were called lotus feet.
Thank you! Chang Yu-i was born in to a large and affluent family. As she grows up traditional China is gradually becoming Westernized: Yu-i herself is the first girl in her family to escape foot-binding; she is always aware of how this gave her freedom. Married at 15 to a scholar and later renowned poet Hsu Chih-mo , a mother at 18, Yu-i is a docile wife and daughter-in-law who obeys the customs of filial devotion dutifully. But her husband is uncaring, often absent, and she feels restless and uneducated.
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Foot binding was the custom of applying tight binding to the feet of young girls to modify the . The earliest-known Western anti-foot binding society, Jie Chan Zu Hui (截纏足会), was formed in Xiamen in . customs are compared to the inexplicable patterns of Western women's fashion); seclusion (sometimes evaluated.
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