As women, we do some rather insane things to achieve what could only be defines as modern standards of beauty. We wear shoes that do horrible things to our feet. We don bras that dig into our chests and push our breastesses into strange configurations. We slide on pantyhose to firm our stomachs and lift our behinds, makeup to hide our imperfections, and hair dye to diminish or complete rid us of our grays. And we have this strange habit of yanking other body hair out from the root, be it our eyebrows, underarms, legs, or pubic hair. (yes, I just said pubic hair – forgive me)

When I was a buyer for Nordstrom, I was much more likely to pay attention to fashion than I am now. I think part of it is because I interacted with other people on a daily basis and it was my job to actually look like I had it together. I have had my nails done weekly, my upper lip waxed monthly and even had a bikini wax once. (Although I never wore a bikini, you understand, it was for my wedding night and I regretted it too…more on that another time)

I worked long hours. On my feet. We used to joke about the fact that our shoe buyers purposely bought shoes that made us feel like Geisha (geishas? geisha’s?) at the end of the day. There was no such thing as comfort back in those days – it was all about fashion, especially if you were traveling to the markets in L.A., Vegas and N.Y.C. Oh, the pain I endured for the sake of fashion. My dogs were barking at the end of a long market day and I always looked forward to going back to my room and soaking them in my friend, Mr. Epsomsalt.

But I don’t think any amount of soaking would do a true-life Geisha any good. Now, before you go thinking that Geisha are all about prostitution, they’re not, I assure you. Women who become Geisha endured many years of training to master their complicated and vast variety of talents including dance, calligraphy, and conversation. And they also bound their feet for the sake of fashion. It might have looked good in those teensy tiny shoes, but I wonder if they ever considered the long-term effects?

If you are easily disturbed by graphic photographs, then I suggest you don’t look at the following photographs. I plan on using them in our World History curriculum this next year when we discuss different cultures, because I think it’s interesting. So are you ready?

What do YOU do in the name of fashion that is a real pain?


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13 Comments on I will never complain about my feet hurting again…

  1. Jenny 865-53oh9
    June 10, 2008 at 1:59 pm (15 years ago)

    I’m not too squimish but wow…that got me! Poor lady!

  2. Jeni
    June 10, 2008 at 2:28 pm (15 years ago)

    I actually looked up information on footbinding last year after I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See. It talks about the young girls beginning their footbinding training. I had to see pictures, because it wasn’t quite making sense in my head. It looks awfully, terribly painful, but can’t be much worse than corset training 200 years ago.

  3. twithhoney
    June 10, 2008 at 2:49 pm (15 years ago)

    Why can’t humans be like all the other animals and make the males of the species primp and strut and go all out to look desirable?

  4. World's Greatest Mommy
    June 10, 2008 at 2:55 pm (15 years ago)

    I just threw up a little. I can’t imgaine how painful that must be. I myself shy away from peep-toe platforms because of pain.

    I’m not even willing to make that sacrifice.

  5. Mel
    June 10, 2008 at 3:49 pm (15 years ago)

    Not that of course!! Now I am a shoe girl, but there ain’t no way I would let my feet look like that. For goodness sakes buy some flip flops and let the tootsie’s breathe. Now I’m gonna go put on my wedge’s and go for a walk!!

  6. rachel whetzel
    June 10, 2008 at 4:45 pm (15 years ago)

    Um, can you say OOOOW!!!

  7. Flea
    June 10, 2008 at 5:44 pm (15 years ago)

    Are you going the story of Gladys Aylward? We read it while homeschooling and she was asked to be a foot inspector when the new regime outlawed binding. Incredible book, her story of being called to China on missions, turned down by the mission board, going anyway.

  8. rachel
    June 10, 2008 at 8:14 pm (15 years ago)

    MAN!!! I’ve heard of people losing toenails from marathon running, but, that’s the worst I knew about feet- until now! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Crazy Daisy
    June 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm (15 years ago)

    I had heard of this but never actually saw photos! Wow.

  10. Elle
    June 11, 2008 at 9:00 am (15 years ago)

    Those photos will definitely make your feet hurt. Very interesting and certainly cause to consider what I’ve put up with for the sake of fashion. It used to be shoes, but an ever advancing bunion put an end to that foolishness. And this latest back injury has be reconsidering several things. Wow, indeed.

  11. Fresh Girl
    June 11, 2008 at 10:21 am (15 years ago)

    Good heavens! I’ve read Memoirs of a Geisha and seen the movie, but I never dreamed they did THAT much damage to their feet.

    I can’t say that I do anything all that painful for the sake beauty or fashion. I used an Epilady ONCE… that was enough torture for me. 😉

  12. Mzzterry
    June 11, 2008 at 4:15 pm (15 years ago)

    I tweeze, pluck,, my eyebrows, but that doe not come close to the pain these women must feel. I am actually somewhat addicted to tweezing….weird, I know. These photos just hurt. I am a crocs girl, all in the name of comfort.

  13. Phyllis Sommer
    June 11, 2008 at 10:04 pm (15 years ago)

    i was going to recommend lisa see’s book too…it has a powerful and graphic description of the process that girls went through to get their feet to look like this…and you know what it did – it made me swear to myself that i would not teach my daughter to do crazy things in the name of beauty.

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