The unspeakable tortures women suffer around the globe to get a guy.
Each of us suffers a little for beauty and fashion. Whether it's getting a bikini wax or wearing beyond painful five-inch heels, suffering and beauty often go hand in hand. But when we got an email with disturbing photos this week--it really made us examine the price women through the ages have paid to catch a man.
Who knew that high-fashion footwear--not unlike shoes Carrie Bradshaw would wear--was actually a debilitating practice of many Chinese women--they suffered "foot binding" to make their feet smaller just so they could marry rich.
Although foot binding was outlawed in China in 1911, it was a custom practiced on young girls and women for over 1,000 years. In order to marry wealthy men, women had to have tiny, "lotus"-like feet. Men were sexually aroused by these tiny feet, and also liked the fact that a woman with bound feet had limited mobility and increased dependence, which meant she would be more devoted to her husband.
Girls' feet were bound as early as 4 years old. Their toes were broken over and over, oftentimes by their mothers or grandmothers. Many girls suffered deadly infections as a result of foot-binding.
Women have suffered (or continue to suffer) other rituals around the world in order to be more attractive to men. The first to come to mind is corseting or tightlacing. In the 1600s, women's organs were often deformed by tight lacing, or making the corset too tight in order to achieve a smaller waistline. Womens' livers and stomachs were often forced downward, and the lungs stopped functioning properly, making it harder for them to breathe. Some women even fractured ribs as a result of tightlacing. Yet the practice continued for hundreds of years, because a small waist made a woman "marriage material."
In Africa, many women and girls still wear lip plates. In some regions, lip plates symbolize social maturity by indicating a girl's eligibility to be a wife. Larger discs (usually circular, and made from clay or wood) are inserted into a pierced hole in the lower lip, thereby stretching it.
In Burma, women wear neck rings in order to stretch their necks and appear more beautiful. Neck rings push the collarbone and ribs down and stretch the neck muscles several inches. The stretching of the muscles takes several years to occur, and the weight of the rings twists the collarbone and eventually the upper ribs to create the illusion of an elongated neck.
The tortures women have suffered and continue to suffer to land a man both shock and sicken us. We might live on different sides of the world, but women everywhere feel the pain of feeling the need to change ourselves just to "get a guy."