#5 Foot-binding and Beauty Standards

Foot-binding as a “beauty trend” of the Song Dynasty of China used measures to break the bones and create small feet with an arched shape. Not having bound feet would be perceived as a serious flaw that would severely influence marital choices. And we can find a variety of beauty standards for females that might actually hurt their well-being.

The standards of ideal body size vary across time and cultures. The
preference for an overweight body size was found in the Tang Dynasty of China and among the present day Saharawi people. In fact, the Precious Consort Yang was known by her slightly overweight body. However, the thin body ideal that is prevalent in the US and China, as well as many other countries in the world, is the central etiological factor that is elevating the incidence of eating disorders. And studies show that “Chinese women are even more dissatisfied with their body image than American women are”.

The average American woman weights between 140-150 lbs with a dress size of 12-14, but the female body images are represented by models with the dress size of 0-2 on television. And society has always been more strict with women’s body images than men’s. The prevalence rate of different eating disorders for women is two to five times higher than men

Women in the Song Dynasty bound their feet to have the “sexy” body movement for men and then this trend became a common practice at that time that showcased status and female virtues. Reflecting upon why women nowadays are wearing high heels despite of the significant health consequences, we can see the pattern in which both practices are portrayed as desirable and attractive to men and women internalized those standards. However, at the end of the day, beauty is diverse and confidence is internal.

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