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Decades ago, women fought for equal rights and the ability to stand on their own two feet in defiance of old traditions. 

What I find so sad is that women's rights activists now seem hell bent on crippling women. Men in women's prisons, safe places and toilets. Men forcing women to hide behind veils and robes to stifle them. 

Not a word from these female activists. Not one word.  

Years, decades and centuries ago, it could be excused. But not today. In this so called enlightened and free and open society, women are free! Free to be slowed down, ridiculed and humiliated by men masquerading as women. What a tragedy. 

It is not the men who are allowing or encouraging this horror. No, it is women. White, middle class women and celebrities. And it makes me shrink in shame at what women have done and allowed to be done in the name of so called women's rights. 

It horrifies me what is being done by women today.  Screaming " Free Palestine! in response to the rape and slaughter of so many young Israeli women. Staying silent as women are arrested for not wearing a head scarf.  Celebrating the torture and murder of babies in the name of women's rights. 

Yes, I am ashamed of what women today have become. 

One day, I hope, we will look back on this as a dark age in history. When women thought that being free to work and spend money on trinkets was more important than seeking the jewel in the crown: Motherhood; or, heaven forbid, becoming loyal and steadfast companions to a husband who sought a partnership with a strong and able mate with whom he could navigate a life well lived. 

Today, I read something that alarmed me. Not because it was dreadful ( which it was ) but more because it is happening again. Not physically, but it is happening to women everywhere in a different sense. 

Women are being crippled. 

Yes, they are.  It isn't their feet. It isn't their ability to run away or fight back in the literal sense. But women are being crippled all the same. 

Which brings me to the topic of my blog post today: Foot Binding. 

Foot binding, a practice that began in China during the Song dynasty (960–1279 AD) and lasted for almost a millennium, is one of the most dreadful symbols of so called beauty and pain in Chinese history. This cultural tradition, which saw young girls' feet painfully bound to alter their shape and size, has left me horrified by its mere existence. What society would do this? 

The origins of foot binding are somewhat murky.  According to legend, the emperor's favourite concubine danced on a platform shaped like a lotus, her feet wrapped tightly in silk to resemble the delicate petals of the flower. Enamored by this sight, the emperor praised her "lotus feet," and thus began the association of small, bound feet with beauty and status.

By the Song dynasty, foot binding had become widespread among the elite, eventually permeating all social classes. Small feet, often referred to as "golden lotuses," were seen as a mark of beauty, elegance, and social standing. A woman with bound feet was more likely to marry well, as the practice signified her family's wealth and her own suitability for domestic life.

Now, I have small feet, naturally. But my size 6 is probably too large for the elite of Chinese culture back then. 

Foot binding typically began when girls were between four and nine years old. The process involved soaking the feet in a warm mixture of herbs and animal blood, cutting the toenails to prevent infection, and then breaking the toes and arch of the foot. The feet were then bound tightly with cotton bandages, forcing the toes under the sole and the arch to bend painfully upward. Over time, the bandages were tightened to achieve the desired shape, which ideally measured about three inches in length.

Heavens. How absolutely ghastly. 

The physical toll of foot binding was immense. The bound feet, deprived of proper growth, often became deformed and prone to infection. The altered gait required women to walk with small, shuffling steps, which was paradoxically seen as a mark of grace and femininity. The pain could be excruciating, and many women suffered lifelong disabilities as a result.

So where does this leave us today? 

While it may seem a bit of a leap, Ballet somehow comes to my mind. 

While foot binding and ballet come from different cultural contexts and serve different purposes, they both highlight the lengths to which individuals and societies will go in the pursuit of an idealised form of beauty and grace. Both practices involve significant physical and psychological sacrifices, raising important questions about the cost of adhering to aesthetic standards and the balance between tradition, art, and well-being.

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What is the difference? 

Have we learned nothing? 


Women in Islamic Nations have a tough time showing their beauty. They are hidden under a shroud of darkness. 

The practice of wearing veils, including the burka, has roots in pre-Islamic societies. Veiling was common in many ancient civilizations, including Greek, Roman, and Persian cultures, where it often symbolised status, modesty, and seclusion of women from public life.

With the advent of Islam in the 7th century, the practice of veiling was integrated into Islamic culture. Islamic texts, including the Quran and Hadith, provide guidance on modesty and dress. For instance, the Quran advises women to draw their veils over their bodies (Surah An-Nur 24:31 and Surah Al-Ahzab 33:59). However, these texts do not explicitly prescribe the burka, niqab, or any specific type of veil, leaving much to interpretation by Islamic scholars.

 I personally think that " drawing their veils over their bodies " could equally be applied to the famous Dance of the Seven Veils. 

 Instead, we got this. 

 It's a funny old world, isn't it? 

It does make me wonder how far we have come. 

It also makes me think we have to stand up for justice. But if our governments keep crippling us, what hope do we have?  We cannot fight back. We are just as hobbled and unable to fight back against them. 

More importantly, until and unless women start standing up, then we are going to subject more women to the crippling impact of rules and social acceptance of things that only hobble and inhibit natural growth and development. 

The women of the social left need to stop worrying about hairy armpits as a sign of fighting back and get with the programme. In other words, start being women and not rainbow warriors. 

Because being a woman is more than a gender identity: it is who we are. 

And being feminine is a great place to start. Well.... you have to start somewhere..... 







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