Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Foot binding

While we're on the subject of Wild Swans...

When Jung Chang is talking about her grandmother, in the early chapters of the book, she goes into some detail about Chinese foot binding. Of course, I was well aware of the practice but I hadn't read about it in the depth she goes into before. I found the psychology of it fascinating. Women were made to believe they had to be forcibly disabled to attract men of the right social background, men forced into believing women who had not been mutilated were somehow less desirable. Over time, poorer and poorer families subscribed to the idea as a way to social mobility until a point where more than half the female population had been disabled by their own parents from early infancy.I somewhat condescendingly looked at the whole idea as something that could never have happened here, until...

Last week Lots was watching Big Brother, as I mentioned. Two (almost) children - I believe they were around 20 or 21 were discussing how breast augmentation was becoming the norm in the US. They believed men just wouldn't be attracted to a twenty-something without synthetic, potentially leaky, possibly carcinogenic, silicon implants. They were expected to return time and time again, to go through unnecessary cosmetic surgery to satisfy a fad of society.

I'm 43. I've never had an operation in my life. I've never had an anaesthetic. Why are we letting society go towards making cosmetic surgery an expected norm? It isn't disabling women en masse - yet - but it is sheer madness. The parallel isn't so far fetched that I can be made to feel in any way comfortable about it. It's time normality reclaimed the world, before my little girls grow up and become adults.

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