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I've been watching Nip/Tuck again and reading about foot binding, so this happened. Blood is Grimas Filmblood A. Feet and shoes are mine. They're a UK size 5 but one of the things high heeled shoes tend to do is make feet look smaller than they actually are. It's not the reason I own these shoes (or any shoes) but the whole small-feet-restricted-movement theme is definitely still a 'thing' these days in many part of the world, even if we aren't break little girls' feet, bending them in half and strapping them up to turn them into the 'lotus feet' that were the desired result of foot binding.
Until a few years ago, I thought foot binding was simply wrapping feet tightly in bandages so they didn't grow. It isn't. It's much more horrific than that and there was a real danger of girls (feet were broken and bound at an early age) dying of shock while having the bones of their feet broken and forced into unnatural positions. If you're interested in the history of foot binding, there's some information about it on Wikipedia. The first place I read about it in detail was in the incredible memoir Chinese Cinderella: The Secret Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah.
The look of the photo was very much inspired by the prevailing colour scheme and blatant gore of Nip/Tuck, one of the most visually impressive television series I've ever had the pleasure of watching. It was very important to me when creating this image that I didn't fetishise the concept of foot binding or unintentionally insinuate any sexiness or modern appeal, hence the visual representation being very much conceptual rather than an attempt at a direct recreation of the aesthetic.
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I'm Chinese and I know that foot binding has killed many girls. Gangrene was seen as a good thing because it meant the toes would fall off....the flesh was constantly rotting and all sorts of other things. Mothers who were intent on binging their daughters' feet but delayed would cause even more severe pain, and......mmmhh.
Foot binding was made illegal in the early 1900's, but I know somewhere some underground sect is still doing it, most likely....
When I read about what foot binding actually involved, I was amazed (and slightly ashamed) that for so long I hadn't realised quite how destructive and horrific it was. My first reaction was to attempt to bend my foot in that direction just to see how far it would go and oh my god, I cannot imagine what it would be like to have that forcibly done until your foot actually broke, and then have it held in that position...and be expected to walk on it! I hope there aren't people in the world still doing it
It might have something to do with why I'm so insistent on keeping my feet strong--I'm very selfishly trying not to suffer the the same fate as my predecessors. I've read the writings of girls having their feet bound, and while nothing can surprise me in history any more, I still think its one of the worst traditions humans have managed to come up with.
This reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. Delightfully dark.
Haha! I hadn't even registered that similarity but I totally see the Wizard of Oz-ness in it...it just needs stripy socks
Dark and beautiful.