From time unknown, most of the women around the world are concerned about their physical beauty, mainly to make them attractive and sensual to the opposite sex. However, the definition of beauty varies from country to country. It may sound strange, but even today, there are many tribes living in the remote areas of the world, who over the years go through some painful processes to make them more desirable to their male counterparts.
There was time in China, when the marriage proposal and the prospects of a girl were hugely dependent on the size and shape of her feet and in those days, the ghastly tradition of lotus feet or feet-binding was ritually prevailed in the country.
In all probability, it all started from the inspiration of a 10th century Chinese dancer Yao Niang, who used to bind her feet to give them a new moon shape and used to dance on her toes inside a golden lotus. Her dance charmed the elite society and stole even the heart of the Emperor Li Yu. Apart from her mesmerizing dance, her normal gait was also changed, producing some sort of rhythmic and sensual movement, which was caused due to the deformation of her feet. The news speeded like fire and the process was soon picked up by many fashionable court ladies, making it a practice of the elite class. On the other hand, a small foot was not only regarded by the men folks as beautiful, it was considered as erotic.
Consequently, small feet became the hallmark of beauty among the Chinese girls. It became almost a social norm that, in order to look attractive to her prospective groom, a Chinese bride must have either three-inch feet, called the golden lotus or four-inch feet, called the silver lotus. Anything beyond five inches, known as iron lotus, was considered ugly and out of reckoning.
As the girl's foot length became the main deciding criteria of the marriage proposals and prospects, desperate attempts became mandatory to prevent the growth of the feet of a Chinese girl. Strangely, it became a common saying that, a woman with bound feet would be submissive to her husband, and hence would make a good wife. In fact, the custom became a useful weapon for the male members of the family to control their wives and daughters by keeping them in the house and an easy way to enforce their submission, as walking was painful for the women with deformed feet.
In those days, a cruel and painful procedure was followed to check the growth of the feet of the Chinese girls. To begin with, the feet were washed with hot water and toe nails were clipped short. After that, the feet were massaged with the oil and the toes were forcibly broken to give them a triangular shape.
In the next step, the feet were bound by a silk strip that were removed and changed every two days to avoid infections. With the passing of time, extra growth of flesh was cut and the girls were forced to walk distances in order to strain their arch. After two long years the bandages were removed, leaving the feet in horribly deformed condition, with broken bone structure.
However, the barbaric and inhumane practice was discontinued, when it was outlawed in the 18th century.