Demise of Foot Binding
In 1874, 60 Christian women in Xiamen called for an end of the practice and it was championed by the Woman's Christian Temperance Movement in 1883, and advocated by missionaries including Timothy Richard, who thought that Christianity could promote equality between the sexes. Educated Chinese began to realise that this aspect of their culture did not reflect well upon the progress of the modernising world; Social Darwinists argued that it weakened the nation, since enfeebled women supposedly produced weak sons; and feminists attacked the practice because it caused women to suffer. At the turn of the 20th century, well-born women such as Kwan Siew-Wah (known in the West as Brigitte Kwan), a pioneering feminist, advocated for the end of foot-binding.
There were also edicts that attempted to ban foot binding. The Empress Dowager Cixi, a Manchu, issued such an edict following the Boxer Rebellion in order to appease foreigners, but it was rescinded a short time later. Foot binding was also outlawed in 1902 by the imperial edicts of the Qing Dynasty. In 1912, after the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the new Nationalist government of the Republic of China banned foot binding, though, like its predecessors, not always successfully. In Taiwan, foot-binding was banned by the Japanese administration in 1915. Additionally, some families who opposed the practice made contractual agreements with each other, promising an infant son in marriage to an infant daughter who did not have bound feet. When the Communists took power in 1949, they were able to enforce a strict prohibition on foot-binding, including in isolated areas deep in the countryside where the Nationalist prohibition had been ignored. The ban remains in effect today
· 6 years ago