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Cinderella's Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding

£9.95

Product description

The history of footbinding is full of contradictions and unexpected turns. The practice originated in the dance culture of China's medieval court and spread to gentry families, brothels, maid's quarters, and peasant households. Conventional views of footbinding as patriarchal oppression often neglect its complex history and the incentives of the women involved. This revisionist history, elegantly written and meticulously researched, presents a fascinating new picture of the practice from its beginnings in the tenth century to its demise in the twentieth century. Neither condemning nor defending foot-binding, Dorothy Ko debunks many myths and misconceptions about its origins, development, and eventual end, exploring in the process the entanglements of male power and female desires during the practice's thousand-year history. Cinderella's Sisters argues that rather than stemming from sexual perversion, men's desire for bound feet was connected to larger concerns such as cultural nostalgia, regional rivalries, and claims of male privilege. Nor were women hapless victims, the author contends. Ko describes how women-those who could afford it-bound their own and their daughters' feet to signal their high status and self-respect. Femininity, like the binding of feet, was associated with bodily labor and domestic work, and properly bound feet and beautifully made shoes both required exquisite skills and technical knowledge passed from generation to generation. Throughout her narrative, Ko deftly wields methods of social history, literary criticism, material culture studies, and the history of the body and fashion to illustrate how a practice that began as embodied lyricism-as a way to live as the poets imagined-ended up being an exercise in excess and folly.

Item details

Condition:
Used: very good
Format:
Paperback

Standard UK Delivery (£3.95 per order)

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within 28 days.
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About this item

The history of footbinding is full of contradictions and unexpected turns. The practice originated in the dance culture of China's medieval court and spread to gentry families, brothels, maid's quarters, and peasant households. Conventional views of footbinding as patriarchal oppression often neglect its complex history and the incentives of the women involved. This revisionist history, elegantly written and meticulously researched, presents a fascinating new picture of the practice from its beginnings in the tenth century to its demise in the twentieth century. Neither condemning nor defending foot-binding, Dorothy Ko debunks many myths and misconceptions about its origins, development, and eventual end, exploring in the process the entanglements of male power and female desires during the practice's thousand-year history. Cinderella's Sisters argues that rather than stemming from sexual perversion, men's desire for bound feet was connected to larger concerns such as cultural nostalgia, regional rivalries, and claims of male privilege. Nor were women hapless victims, the author contends. Ko describes how women-those who could afford it-bound their own and their daughters' feet to signal their high status and self-respect. Femininity, like the binding of feet, was associated with bodily labor and domestic work, and properly bound feet and beautifully made shoes both required exquisite skills and technical knowledge passed from generation to generation. Throughout her narrative, Ko deftly wields methods of social history, literary criticism, material culture studies, and the history of the body and fashion to illustrate how a practice that began as embodied lyricism-as a way to live as the poets imagined-ended up being an exercise in excess and folly.

Condition:
Used: very good
Format:
Paperback

Delivery & returns

This item will be dispatched to UK addresses via second class post within 2 working days of receipt of your order. Standard UK delivery is £3.95 per order, so you're only charged once no matter how many items you have in your basket. Any additional courier charges will be applied at checkout as they vary depending on delivery address.

This item will be dispatched to UK addresses via second class post within 2 working days of receipt of your order. Standard UK delivery is currently free, no matter how many items you have in your basket. Any additional courier charges will be applied at checkout as they vary depending on delivery address.

You can find out more about delivery and returns in our help section.

We offer a no quibble returns policy as follows:

Wedding dresses: 28 days

Overseas returns: 31 days

Everything else: 28 days


This item is also available for international delivery by airmail, carrying a mandatory delivery charge of:

Europe: £8.00

Outside Europe: £15.00

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Oxfam Books & Music Lichfield

Welcome to the Oxfam Lichfield Books & Music.  Being at the very heart of the city's rich literary and cultural heritage - just two doors away from the birthplace of Samuel Johnson - we are well positioned to serve the needs of all our customers, locally and beyond.  We specialise in books but we are just as passionate about our music.  We sell vinyl and CDs, as well as video games, cameras and musical instruments.

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