There is a stunning post at EastCoast Life about the abhorrent practice of foot-binding in the Orient. The photos are both sickeningly fascinating, and inexplicably horrendous.
The kids and I have studied the missionary work of Gladys Aylward, a hero of ours. She was an Englishwoman in the early 1900s who desperately desired to evangelize China, but was considered too old and too inexperienced to join the missions group. Aylward decided to be a missionary, anyway, without their help. She got a job and saved up her own money to take a train through dangerous Russia and on to China– Manchuria, specifically. Her story is INCREDIBLE and I highly recommend the book Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime (it’s a young-adult book and very readable).
At first, the Manchurians treated Gladys like a hostile intruder, but after seeing her compassion, love, and incredible generosity, named her “Ah-wei-dah,” which means “virtuous one.” The Manchurian leader became a Christian by observing her love and compassion. Gladys also adopted dozens of orphaned children; she quelled a violent prison outbreak and then negotiated for the starving prisoners; and she rescued hundreds of Chinese children (she led them on a dangerous– but life-saving– journey over mountains when the Japanese invaded during World War II). What a wonderful woman she was! (By the way, you just know that the modern Christian Chinese church is a direct descendant of the work of Gladys, Hudson Taylor, and Eric Liddell among those children, because all foreigners were expelled from China during WWII. These little Christian children were all that remained of the Christian faith in that country). Gladys is buried in Taiwan, facing her beloved China. Eric Liddell died in a concentration camp in China by the hand of the Japanese occupiers; he is buried in China.
During her missionary ministry, Gladys helped enforce the new law in China against foot-binding. Foot-binding, practiced for centuries in China, had been outlawed by the Nationalist government. They were finding it hard to enforce, because Chinese men still wanted it. Like EastCoastLife says, the perverted disfigurement and torture of little girls’ feet was for the sole purpose of their selfish, perverted pleasure.
It made me think that nothing new has really changed, has it? In our Western culture, it has been the same way, too. There were corsets, which restricted a woman’s waist so badly that mothers died during pregnancy or during childbirth. The female mortality rate was horrific. In Gone With the Wind, it is made notable that Scarlett O’Hara had an 18-inch waist. Talk about disfigurement!
What is it today? Being super-skinny, having watermelon-sized implants, Botox, etc. I shake my head and really wonder why men like their women so disfigured and unnatural and why women tolerate it and allow the perversion to continue on to afflict their children.
It’s something to think about. Are we really any different now? Are we still ruled by pressures to contort our bodies so as to appear more enticing for men? Is it really worth it?!