If you think the beauty practices of today are absurd or out of control, take a look back at this centuries-old practice that came into popularity in China. One woman, Zhou Guizhen is one of the last women to practice the tradition of foot-binding.
You might have heard that beauty standards in ancient China included the painful process of foot-binding. It was believed that tiny feet made women more attractive to men, so wealthy families wrapped tight bandages around the feet of young girls to prevent them from growing.
The feet of children as young as four years old were being forced into tight bindings because their bones were still soft.
The big toe was left in tact, but all the other toes were broken and curled as close to the heel as possible. Then their feet were wrapped and unwarpped several times until they were only 4-inches long.
Although the practice was outlawed in 1912, Guizhen tells South China Magazine that she would hide her feet from inspectors by wrapping them in thick padding and wearing bigger shoes.
The magazine reports that it was believed that crippling women's feet made them walk in a certain manner that supposedly tightened the inner thigh and pelvic muscles.
Disgustingly, the smaller the bound feet, the stronger the vaginal muscles would be during lovemaking. This painful practice was all for male satisfaction.
Thankfully this beauty practice is no longer enforced or desired!
What do you think? Was this child abuse, or just an unfortunate cultural practice?