Bodily mutilation to achieve the goal of ultimate beauty for women resides within every culture in the world. An average American way of bodily mutilation to gain beauty is through plastic surgery. As for Africa, women believe having a long neck symbolizes their beauty and status within their village. In some parts of China, the women believe the smaller your feet are the more desirable you become. Within the Mae Hong Son area of northwest Thailand, the women of the tribes are more commonly known as the, “Long-Necks. The women in these areas are known for adorning brass rings around their necks, The rings on the neck reach from the clavicle up to beneath the chin, and these rings are held very tightly by the bone structure from clavicle to chin.
This neck ring adornment is started when the girls are five or six years old and the neck grows longer as additional rings are added with each passing year. It is from this practice that this tribe has gained the name of "Long-Necks". Some women wear thirty-seven brass rings around the neck and this is considered ideal.Not only do they wear the rings around their necks they will wear them around the arms and the legs, and for this tribe the rings are the most prominent sign of female beauty and status. “Lotus Feet” is an ancient Chinese bodily mutilation of binding the feet to make the size much smaller. to the restructure the feet by the breaking of the arch and four smaller toes on each foot. After the initial binding procedure, usually around the age of seven, the feet would remain tightly bound with long cloth strips until the feet were no longer growing.
The ideal foot consisted of three features, which was the length of three inches, a cleft between the heel and the sole, which was wanted to be around two to three inched deep, and that the feet appeared to be an extension of the leg, instead of platforms for the legs. Binding of the feet symbolized a lily or lotus flower because of the similarities in looks, if the woman’s feet were bound, they would be comparable to the grace and delicateness of the flower.If a woman had a natural size foot similar to a mans, it meant she was the opposite of grace and beauty such as a man would be characterized. Neck rings and feet binding pose serious negative effects to a human body. Neck rings caused a woman who adorned them to never be able to look up or down. The mobility of the neck was restricted where they wouldn’t even be able to drink from a cup without using a straw. Stretching of the neck pulled the muscles rendering them useless, to the point were if they were removed, the woman would not be able to hold her own head up.
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Feet binding can cause the woman to be nearly crippled, they have trouble getting out of chairs, doing activties on their feet, and have hip and spinal injuries throughout life. Although Neck-rings and Lotus feet are very different practices of bodily mutilation, they create the same desired effect. These practices are to convey a womans beauty through a painful act, creating a falsified version of what society believed to be beautiful. Every culture shares this common theme throughout history, although it may be painful and odd, it continues on through our culture today.
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