Footbinding, Sexuality and Transnational Feminism
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Footbinding was a Chinese custom where women bound their feet with cloth to make them smaller. As a special culture, it has spread its influence deeply into various fields in Chinese social life (both female and male) during the past centuries, such as music, dance, painting, literature, costume, and so on. In this thesis, I trace back the origin and evolution of footbinding, as well as the history of research and representation of footbinding. By comparing the Western and Eastern scholarship, I find that although the methodology and keystone in their studies are quite different, they both noticed the close relationship between footbinding and sexuality. Therefore I discuss to what sense that footbinding plays the crucial role in sexuality in ancient China. By raising an ignored example, an oral document of a bound-feet woman talking about her experiences of footbinding and sexual life, I rethink the process of footbinding studies from the feminist perspective.