Beyond the Veil| The Wall Street Journal gives us a in-depth look at the class, beauty and not very erotic history of China’s practice of foot-binding. In fact, bound feet were hard to clean, prone to decay and frequently gave off a tangy smell.
Initially a status fetish of the upper class, the practice of binding a woman’s feet permeated all classes of Chinese life. Melissa Brown, an assistant professor of anthropology at Stanford University, says her surveys of bound-foot women found that the practice gained traction as a way of restraining women, forcing women to stay in place as obedient women. Read: In Yunnan, China’s Last Foot-Bound Women.