A fascinating and haunting exploration of the bound foot in Chinese culture. In Aching for Beauty, Wang interprets the mystery of footbinding as part of a. The earliest mention of foot binding in Chinese history may date to the 21st century B.C., when the founder of the Xia dynasty was said to have married a fox fairy. ACHING FOR BEAUTY: Footbinding in China by Wang Ping. Why did so many Chinese women over a thousand-year period bind their feet.

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University chiha Minnesota Press Coming soon. Aching for Beauty is one of the most stimulating and exciting books I have read in a long, long time-a work of cultural criticism and comparative study at its best.

At times I feel the author may have read more into the practice than I would have but her conclusions are not outlandish. University of Minnesota Press. Ping’s study is smart and interesting. Wang herself is one of our most mutable authors-poet, novelist, short story writer, editor, translator, academic-and, while being an impressive researcher, she’s artist enough here to guide us smoothly through this tangle of fascinating, esoteric, and not infrequently gleefully appalling material.

Aching for Beauty

Apr 07, Brittany rated it it was ok. But, there were interesting chapters on other subjects The Fabric of Masquerade. Trivia About Aching for Beauty If you read only that section out of the whole book, you would not have known Achi This would have been a good deal drier if the author hadn’t added in many references to older literature and anecdotes by a variety of women, which I heartily enjoyed. Kumiko rated it liked it Feb 21, Fo expected to read a book on foot binding, and there was very little about that subject in this book.

I tried very hard to maintain an open mind about the practice of foot binding. Stunned to discover that traditionally bound feet were hook-shaped appendages only three inches long, she embarked on an all-consuming journey deep into the history of footbinding, a quest that ultimately led to a fresh and daring exploration of gender roles and the interface between the individual body and the body politic.


Footbinding in China, author Wang Ping attempts to tackle the deeper meanings behind footbinding in China. I couldn’t quite bring myself to finish this book because it felt too much like a thesis, which in actuality, I believe it was. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.

Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China by Wang Ping

I also liked the passages by other women describing their experiences. Inn used literary sources such as novels, poems and pla After reading Lisa See’s novel, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, I became fascinated with the chinese practice of foot binding. Jun 13, Catherine Siemann rated it liked it. Footbniding Ping awakens empathy and wonder, and helps us see that we are all kindred in spite of our extraordinary and precious differences.

Princita Hemam rated it it was amazing Sep 23, With a comprehensive examination of the notions of hierarchy, femininity, and fetish bound up in the tradition, Aching for Beauty places footbinding in its proper context and opens a window onto an intriguing culture.

Jul 18, K. The whole book is plagued–if I may use this rather strong expression–by overinterpretation, an unfortunate result of the author’s overflowing subjectivity. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus.

Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China

Examining the imagery and fetishes associated with footbinding, Wang views it not footbindlng as something that victimized women and enforced patriarchy but as a vehicle for blurring gender boundaries. I do that too and I’m grateful that I had people who kindly pointed them out for me. Wang Ping writes with passion and an understanding strengthened by the female experience.

It seems that foot binding was done beaity more than just a symbol of beauty or erotic stimulation for men.

Aching for Beauty masks a festering feast of sex and death-the coming apart, and together, of a civilization-in impeccable, tightly wound, attractive trappings.

Food and Foot Fetishes in China pp. Even still, I think the author summed up the book in that first chapter. Aching for Beauty serves as a great resource on the practice of footbinding in China in which Ping articulately explains the subject. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. In Aching for Beauty, Wang interprets the mystery of footbinding as part of a womanly heritage-“a roaring ocean current of female language and culture.


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Ping used literary sources such as novels, poems and plays as well as personal accounts of women who had experienced the practice, to reinforce her positions. I’m still not convinced. I found the information insightful and very helpful. As a mother of a daughter myself,I feel there should be some other way to connect with your daughter that doesn’t involve mutilation or a crippling practice such as this. It’s not that she’s bereft of originality.

As for when she contradicts herself about the aesthetic standard of footbinding, footbinding as something to separate the sexes, etc. I think that I will seek out the original sources that Ping borrows so heavily from in her book.

I was barely able to get through a couple of chapters before I gave up completely on reading it, despite my early enthusiasm for the subject. Jan 22, Karenj rated it footblnding it. Contact Contact Us Help.

I think it’s an invention of western white imperialist patriarchy and should’ve died out with Freud. After becoming obsessed with Geisha, I figured I would learn more about other Asian cultures and their traditions, such as the Chinese tradition of foot-binding.

Some of the connections she makes, for example, the bound foot to the Lacanian phallus, speak to the work’s origin as her dissertation, but overall her insights are well worth the time spent reading. Awards Winner of the Footbindiing M. Kalyn Howard rated it really liked it Apr 26, It demonstrated the connection between pleasure and pain.