While beauty is a killer for males, it literally is for the women-or at least the price of it. Women of our generation have grown discontent with their physical appearances in terms of how it defines or represents them. Whether in society or in public, they worry most about the impressions and judgments men may or may not have on them both positive and negative. For several, what they fear more than anything is rejection-especially by the opposite sex. Feminist weep, but this is the reason and source of drive for women in wanting to restore, to alter, and to enhance their looks and body figure by undergoing surgical manipulation. Cosmetic plastic surgeries (i.e. breast and buttock augmentations, lip enhancements, and liposuctions) are more prevalent now than ever, just to name a few. In other instances, some teenagers would endure the feeling of starvation just to attain their desired and ideal weight and beauty. They would visit the dermatologist to have their pimples removed, a treatment that would leave tears in their eyes. Truly, beauty is pain. Of course, all those come with their consequences, impediments, and perils. Seemingly, those things are not taken in consideration, or simply ignored by the wrong kind of determination. Obsession could be a word to call it, a hunger to be acknowledged, to have the respect of others (let's face it, people do judge a book by its cover), and to be accepted with the 'in' crowd-to be at the spotlight of vanity. And a deadly sin is exactly what it is because as shocking as it may be, women would readily sacrifice their health in exchange for it-even risk their lives. What makes this ideology of beauty even more scarred is the plain method of torture/ pain inflicting (from severe to mild) it applies. Our generation have it easy-lying on a comfy bed in air-conditioned facilities and state of the art technology that would make the procedures of sticking needles and peeling off your skin as painless and as comfortable as possible (not too much of a torture is it?). But to those people who underwent the procedures before the advent of anesthesia, there is that unimaginable, gut-wrenching pain that becomes the price sacrificed for beautification; an example of such a pain and "beauty" is foot binding.
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Rewinding to the time of the ancients, for more than a thousand years in China, foot binding or "bound feet" has been practiced and applied on young women, beginning in the 10th century until the early 20th century. At the age of three, the feet of a Chinese girl (usually the "well-off") were subjected to this feminine culture. Foot binding is the act wherein a young girl's feet are wrapped in tightly stretched strips of cloth or bandages, bending the toes under the foot, breaking its bones, and forcing the heel toward the front of the sole. In this primary process, it would hinder its ordinary growth development and would not mature to an extent of four to six inches. The moment they reach a ripe age, their feet would still be undersized and non-adaptive; moreover it would have the tendency of getting hold of paralysis, muscular atrophy, and infection.  Any one in the right mind would cringe to read the gist of foot binding and would deem it cruel while often branding the people who subjected themselves to such cruelty as fools bordering mental incapacity! But to lay down the gavel immediately would be unfair to the Ancient Chinese women because understanding could only come when one fully understands the history of the practice and what it possibly represented in the lives of the millions of Chinese women.
According to legend, the practice of foot binding became prevalent with common folk when it was reported that the Song emperor loved the small "Lily Feet" of his concubine Yao Niang, commonly known as Lovely Maiden. Because he had a fetish with tiny feet and found it erotic and eye-catching, the royal highness would ask his consort to dance with bound feet atop of a golden lotus pedestal to bear a resemblance of the beautiful crescent moon lighting up in the night sky. Upon hearing the news, the masses and elite allegedly began to practice foot binding in order to imitate the imperial concubine's Golden Lotus feet, which had found favor in the Emperor's eyes.  It is unclear whether the practice began in late Tang or during the Song Dynasty, but that information is trivial compared to the evident importance of the practice and its impact. Because "what began as a tool to facilitate dancing," as Holman states, "was gradually adopted as fashion among the upper class and a custom that was to last a millennium." 
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Being a fashion 'statement,' the practice of foot binding was bound to change along the course of time just as fashion come and is reformed continuously. The practice was initially ventured into by the female elites and practiced with more laxity (yet still with pain). Starting with the Yuan Dynasty onwards, the importance of size and shape was stressed upon and the bindings were wrapped more tightly to thoroughly break the bones. This was due to the fact that the Mongols who established the Yuan rule highly encouraged foot binding among women  as it hindered them from achieving success.  Along with the strict-er regiments of foot binding, a standardized chart of size was 'imposed' for all foot bind-ees-the essential 'must-follows' of society. The 'perfect' lotus foot was three inches, commonly called as gold lotuses. Silver Lotuses (4 inches long) and Iron Lotuses (more than 4 inches long) were considered as an insult to women because they failed to achieve the "high-class foot" and, as thus, would be fined by their version of the fashion police, become the laughing stock of society, and be pitifully shunned. Ideally, the feet should "appear to be extensions of the leg, rather than stands for the body"  .
Another, perhaps more humorous insight to the foot binding practice would be to view it not only as a fashion but also as a female sport. Gone are the days of soccer during the Han Dynasty and polo riding of the early Tang Dynasty where women were allowed more liberation. In the succeeding reigns, the competition would be based on the size of the feet (smallest wins!) and the reward-of course-would simply be the admiration of men and envy of women to feed her vanity as well as marriage to a lucrative man. Interestingly enough, as a flower, the lotus represents esteemed characteristics and serves as an Asian symbol of truth, goodness and beauty, peace, as well as enlightenment.  The very same qualities that women of Ancient China desired to attain and become. Also, in accordance to the Chinese's universal truth of Yin and Yang, foot binding was done as a "way of proving the feminine Yin virtue." To be compatible with the aggressive and powerful men (Yang), the women (Yin) have to be passive and submissive (Yang) to create harmony in society. And what better act of yielding to patriarchal domination that to have one's feet bound? The act also trained women to portray honorable virtues of self-discipline and the pain they would endure silently would serve as a form of 'training' of the many pains of life in the later years such as child birth and abuses by the mother (mom-ster)-in-law.  As such, the term lotus or lily feet became synonymous with what are beautiful, graceful (in walk and manner), patient (in times of affliction), enduring (all hardships), and-in other words-woman.
Eventually, an evolution took place in Chinese culture wherein the object of bound feet stopped being simply a fashion women trifled with for the sake of going along with the trends but as something that has become ingrained with culture and a civilization's 'way of living'.  But this new culture had a whole lot more downsides that what was then perceived to be good, and with this new culture, women would face the full force of subjugation under the patriarchal system in a subtle way that they themselves were oblivious to it. One of the purposes of foot binding was to limit mobility. With feet even smaller or at par with the size of one's hands, it would be incredibly difficult to maintain balance much less conduct house hold chores or even brisk walk to escape a thief about to steal one's purse! The restriction impressed upon women with bound feet made an art out of daily functioning.
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Fueling the prevalence of the practice was that there was a common misconception of society before concerning its 'health benefits'-a lapse on the part of the physicians. It was believed to promote health and fertility as the feet's inability to balance places a bigger pressure on the hips, the most basic threshold of female fertility, causing it to widen. And, of course, given the ever so importance of filial duty in Chinese society, fertility is a great asset in order to produce children (ahem, sons, ahem) to continue to the family name and carry on the pride of one's forefathers. A happily ever after is far from the picture though as hip and bone fractures are common risks due to too much pressure on the bones. Most complications and health risks brought about by foot binding are carried bravely on the shoulders of the older female generation who has lived many years of pain for the full effects to take toll on the body. To get a more accurate measure of their suffering, UC San Francisco conducted a study on old Chinese women who have had their feet bound and concluded that:
" . . .women in the 80 years or older group with bound feet were more likely to have fallen during the previous years than women with normal feet (38 percent vs. 19 percent) and were less able to rise from a chair without assistance (43 percent vs. 26 percent)" 
Of course falling in one's old age is not simply one of those times when one dusts off the dirt and walks off as if nothing happened. The frailty of age is what makes the cruelty of foot binding more compassion stirring as each fall could potentially be fatal and, if not fatal, humiliating and un-dignifying. This could take a toll psychologically as well when the degeneration of the body is enhanced by the helplessness caused by having small feet. Also, added to it would be the bearing of people's pities (especially the generation who saw the last of the practice) that would just batter one's self-respect. It is because of this fate that these old women should be admired--especially those who have persevered in their lotus virtues.
Given an extent of historical background, it would now be in order to explain the entire process in a more vivid detail to get a clearer grasp of the sheer pain it inflicted upon innocent girls (reader, prepare your ears). The procedure of foot binding begins with girls at the age of three to seven. The binding process would be done none other than the mothers. This sad truth is often a blow against the maternal nature of nurturing and protecting one's child, but as foot binding had permeated into culture, the act was considered a fact of life that women must undergo through. The mother would be, on the contrary, giving her child a chance for a better life the tighter the bindings would be. With smaller feet, the little girl will grow to be a woman accepted into society and will be easier to wed to wealthy men; thus, securing the girl's future.
It was an old popular saying that "a mother couldn't love her daughter and her daughter's feet at the same time." 
Primarily, the daughter's feet would be soaked in warm water with mixture of animal blood and herbs to get rid of the dead flesh as well as to alleviate the foot by softening it and to give support to the binding.  Secondly, the toenails would be cut short so as not to let them grow into the foot. This would avoid another source of pain (this is a word that's becoming more and more cheap when discussing foot binding) in the form of in-growth nails and infections.  In preparation for the crucial part of the practice, the feet of the daughter would be massaged delicately like a goddess. At a young age, bones are still flexible and tender so binding the feet is quite simple. This would be as kind as the process would be as softening the feet with herbs and massaging it makes it "less painful". Without the use of modern anesthetics that we have today to numb the senses, the four smallest toes on each foot would be ruptured by curling the toes wrapped with silk or white cotton bandages of varying length (poorer folks used darker shades to hide the shade of blood for less changing and cleansing routines), compressing them downwards with immense force, and squeezing them tightly into the sole of the foot. The big toe is spared and is left 'relatively' unbroken so that the women will not lose the complete function of their feet: mobility. 
Because the arch of the foot has not yet been fully developed at this time, it would reduce the twinge suffered by the daughter especially if it was set up during fall or winter season for the foot would turn numb due to the cozy climate. As soon as the entangling was finished, the cloth would be stitched firmly to thwart the girl from removing the bandages. In addition, it would be necessary for the daughter to stand on her newly shattered and lumped feet to constrict them into structure. Every couple of days, the binding would be unwrapped and would be recovered with fresh bandages, pulled even tighter causing long lasting torture.  The bandaged feet would also be squeezed into smaller and smaller sized shoes to further stump growth. As soon as the daughter's feet reaches three to four inches long, this binding process would be prolonged to ten more years of agonizing pain.  Because of this, bound feet women could not even walk in short distances and are unable to bear themselves alone. The results of the foot binding were highly deformed feet that were extremely painful to walk on.
"A privileged young girl from a wealthy family would often receive a body servant at the time of her initial binding, to look after her personal needs during wakeful nights of pain and carry her into the garden when her feet were too painful to walk on. This often developed into a life-long relationship, which provided mutual psychological dependency, as well as comfort, affection and companionship." 
To certain extremes, and if the feet weren't attend to with fine detail, the toes can actually fall off because the bandages had been wrapped so tightly that blood could no longer circulate, rendering the feet utterly dead and useless.  Also, to make the fate of the girls even worse, "it has been estimated that as many as ten percent of the girls did not survive the 'treatment'."  The process is followed by a life long duty of taking care of their feet--another process that is tedious or, in modern terms, 'high maintenance'.
As the saying goes, "Every pair of small feet costs a bath of tears."  ; yet, regardless of the tears, foot binding had become a (mis)conception of beauty that is simply too prized by Chinese society to be given up. "To some extent, foot binding was considered an aspect of female clothing or adornment, rather than body mutilation."  These blinded views are essentially the foundations for which the efforts and perseverance that struggled to keep the practice alive for many years stand. It is a foundation, however, that is imbalanced (health wise, human rights wise) as the feet it supports.
Foot binding had dominated not only to the well-heeled Chinese families but also to every social class in China (with some exception to the truly impoverished). The average size of a woman's foot then would be between 3-5 inches- an unimaginable horror to today's customary. To be the Adriana Lim or Megan Fox in Ancient China, a woman's foot should be three times smaller than the modern regular foot of 8-9 inches. Women with bound feet and stylish shoes consisting of embroidery, charming scent, and tiny bells were deemed greatly attractive and apparently pleasing, much like (in today's standard) that sexy, perfect pair of stilettos. However, due to the 'delicacy' of bound feet, normal shoes are not be suitable for the Lotus Feet, and so the manufacture of Lotus shoes began. As a fact surely Imelda Marcos and shoe-holics could understand, for wealthy bound females, having an ample set of these elaborate and expensive foot wear was also a flattering aspect of foot binding where vanity thrives as society worships her lavish beauty.  The Lotus Shoes were very much decorated and ornamented footwear.  Each pair of shoes represented works of art with its symbolic embroidery. The making of embroidered lotus shoes thus served as a vent for imagination and solace, a woman's only source of freedom and creativity as the classic character Phoenix Treasure, a fictional version of a child pleading for her feet not to be bound, describes. The result is a satisfaction and a sense of immense pride in being able to create such beautiful things.
"Repelled at first by the notion of bound feet," said Phoenix Treasure, "I had to submerge myself in the better side because if I dwelled on the pain I might not have been able to do the book (of lotus shoe embroidering)." 
But the adorable little bounded feet of women were more than just precious possessions of men; it became the soul of feminine exquisiteness and sexual air of secrecy, her sex appeal as they were thought of as intimately erotic and an effective aphrodisiac to see the woman's dainty walks; small and endearing steps, at the same time. This could easily be relatable to the late legend Marilyn Monroe who serves as an iconic sex symbol of today's time. She increased her sexual appeal by making one of her heel shorter than the other, causing her to walk with a seductive gait of swaying hips. 
Astonishingly, the very sight of a bound woman's 'catwalk' is increasingly appealing to a man's libido, said to be beneficial to better sexual intercourse. Ancient sex manuals of the Qing Dynasty were unraveled which demonstrated forty-eight different positions of playing, fondling, and caressing with a woman's bound feet. It was considered that a woman's "jade gate" would be strengthened and contracted where she could grasp her husband's "jade spear" forcefully and securely (enough of the sex talk!).  Certainly, love was blind as to beauty was in the eyes of the beholder. Although as a preference for nearly all men, they should not see the real feet in flesh, and that it should be always hidden from their sight and covered with small lotus shoes. It was stated by Feng Xun that if a woman reveals her bound feet with the removal of the bandages, the zealous sensation will be destroyed permanently. Nevertheless, foot binding turned out to be an emblem of influence and opulence for men. Exclusive sexual access to their female consorts was enforced and women became easily "preyed upon" with their limited mobility. This ensured the men of their chastity and fidelity, which serves as one purpose of this tradition. With the restrictions imposed by bound feet, the women are trained to be meek and modest creatures in action while at the same time appealing in looks--the best of both worlds for the males  while the worst for females.
Men also prefer to get married with bound feet women as his mother's approval depends largely on whether or not the female prospect has undergone the process.  According to history, "matchmakers in China were asked not about the beauty of a Chinese woman but about the size of the feet of the Chinese girl. It is in this case where size does matter - small size that is. The Chinese of olden times consider the size of the feet as the measurement of laziness. If they are poorly bound, it just goes to show that the Chinese woman does not care about grace or beauty. A plain face may be forgiven, but an unbound foot was not." 
Beyond doubt, foot-binding practice was an indication of female oppression because women were strained by society with the threat of dishonor should the norms not be followed. Because of this, it has segregated the two genders, with the superior men on top and the weaker women on the bottom (non-sexual connotationïŠ). Certainly, foot binding is deemed a sickening process because it connotes a certain inhumanity on mankind with the way sexual pleasure and societal acceptance can be found in an act that is completely marring and against the nature of human form. The otherwise domination or 'bullying' of the female sex are also attacked as the act that essentially coerces and deludes females to a wrong ideal and definition of beauty.  However, it becomes easier to digest how women could have endured such pain for their vanity when one comes to understand that beauty is perhaps the only pride left for a woman. Hence, what mattered more to a woman was appearance rather than her own wellbeing. In the nation where patriarchy is the heart of the state, it was their only shield and sword.
In spite of the unfavorable results of foot binding, historians trust their judgment that a number of Chinese people in the 17th century held up their support on the tradition of foot binding. One of these enthusiasts is Liu-Hsien, a.k.a P'u Sung-hing, along with a few grounds to justify support for feet binding:
In accordance to the Chinese, being the most discriminating race, Chinese city dwellers would laugh at an "unbound" woman, saying that she looks like a man. They would tease and would call her impolite names until her parents become ashamed of their daughter.
Such public ridicule and shame brought to the family name might as well be a life worse than death in Chinese society where the importance of public face is esteemed and familial pride is respected.
Chinese women's feet should be bound so that their tiny feet would be able to keep them from making 'manly' strides. They would instead walk daintily and would sway elegantly to portray themselves as women of decency and uprightness.
Men would not ask the hand of an unbound woman in marriage because its feet are unsatisfactory and imperfect. As it was a social blunder, the shame of being associated with a woman of shame would not even be conceived in a respectable man's thoughts.
A woman whose feet are not bound would be discriminated in the society. She would be asked to do tedious work, never be allowed to sit on a sedan chair in public or in wedding ceremonies, and would not be entitled to wear red clothing (a denial to longevity) for she is a woman of shame.
"Unbound women are regarded as defective and unwanted gems", as quoted from the reading, "Girls are like gold, like gems." Coming from plain and boring rocks, the worth of a pristine and valuable gem results from efforts on refinement (i.e. cutting and polishing the rocks in perfect shape and size). Without proper cultivation, it is ugly and not worth anything--much like women with big feet.
Finally, in accordance to the business opportunist character of the Chinese, a number of would ask their daughters to have their foot bound so when marriage prospects arrives, the parents would be able to ask a huge amount of bride price from the husband's family to pay the initial expense they paid (and much more) in securing their daughter's bound feet. An economical relief indeed!
On the other hand, one wonders if money is worth the pain of having bound feet for there are many negative effects that were believed to be immensely severe to a woman's physical condition. Apart from the never-ending misery of the bound beet, infection was most likely to occur because the ball of the foot would fold into the heel and that the toenails (which have grown) would coil into the skin, causing the decomposing of the flesh and the toe.  Likewise, the woman would be bringing with her an awful stench all over because of her decayed feet.  This indicates that her feet are dead. Some bound feet women-the lucky ones-never experienced physical predicaments in their formative years. However, majority of the women had their fitness troubles by tripping on the ground, not able to rise from a seated position, and inability to squat easily  ----a torture when one lives in a land where toilets are unfortunately but holes on the floor. Having lower lip hipbone density made them prone to tremendous hip fractures  as discussed before and along these infections were diseases such as gangrene and blood poisoning which were rampart during then without proper medical technology  and eventually death.  Even though, foot binding was perceived as a privilege for the women, they never realized how excruciating it was to endure all the hardships in their existence.
It was at the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) that foot binding reached its zenith of influence in which 99 percent of women born before 1890 had some form of bound feet. By this time foot binding was being practiced and not only in the affluent parts of China but among inhabitants of all social classes. Founded by the Manchus who overthrew the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to establish a new rule under an 'alien' emperor. As the practice wasn't part of the Manchu customs and traditions, the government became rigorously in opposing to foot binding. Despite being Sinicized throughout the years of living beside the most influential civilization of the world, the Manchu wanted to retain remnants of their own culture; thus imposing look-altering 'make overs' for the Chinese in the form of queues (men's braids) and a ban on foot binding for women. Leading the example would be the female Qing nobles who were perhaps one of the first leagues of women who escaped the deforming custom. In efforts to curb down the practice, the government even began charging families who persisted in binding their women's feet with penalty fees although they were never able to fully impede the practice. Regardless of the emperor's disapproval, foot binding had happened to be an integral component of the traditional Chinese families as a striking culture, and it continued even into the early 20th century. 
As a result of the China's shameful loss over the two Opium Wars, the West was able to infiltrate that arrogant walls of the country for trade and spread its influence in terms of western liberal philosophies and (a more minor contribution) religion.  The campaigns against foot binding were already under way as early as 1860s, spear headed by Christian missionaries from the West who inspired a push for reform.  In 1875, Rev. John McGowan of the London Missionary Society, after campaigning against the practice for fifteen years, called an important meeting in Xiamen, China with a controversial petition for women to 'volunteer' to un-bind their own feet or to stop the pursuit of the practice. Change was slowly but surely as more and more women were coaxed into abandoning foot binding.
But these reformists only took up a tiny fraction of the population and were viewed still to be insignificant against the majority who still believes in the beauty and necessity of foot binding. And like in the modern world, the first thing to do to spread information quickly is to engage in a form of advertising. Respect for China's civilization became the key 'slogan' for the movement; Christian missionaries released their ideas into print such as in the Review of the Times, founded in 1868, which were read mainly by the elites to learn ideas and events from the world outside China. In 1894, the Unbound Foot Association, which the Confucian scholar and reformist leader Kang Youwei founded alongside other peers became the first official support group in China against foot binding (excluding the missionary groups).  This was the start of an actual internal revolt against the inhumane practice, pointing to the fact that a handful of Chinese women and men were beginning to awaken to the cruel and 'ugly' realities of their customs--the first step for change.
In 1898, Kang Youwei opted for the boldest move yet in the fight against foot binding to go as far as sending a letter to the emperor saying:
"All countries have international relations, and they compare their political institutions with one another, so that if one commits the slightest error, the others ridicule and look down upon it . . . . There is nothing which makes us objects of ridicule so much as foot-binding." 
When the Qing Dynasty collapsed after the Taiping Rebellion in 1911, a new era was ushered into the economically depressed and painfully humbled Chinese state--the emergence of the New Republic of China in 1912. Eventually educated Chinese came to see that the custom made them appear "barbaric" to foreigners.  The new government, enlightened with the ideas of the West, heeded Kang Youwei's blunt advice for reform in hopes of salvaging the Chinese reputation and pride among other countries. China officially 'illegalized' the custom of foot binding to further establish gender equality and to create a new appearance globally. Ironically, when before it was the Chinese calling the foreigners 'barbarians' and viewed them in all the vilest adjectives, it was now the Western Powers who had the upper hand; China was given a taste of its own medicine. Such is the turning of the wheel of life.
Aligned with the New Republic's desire to purge itself from the humiliation of international tongue wagging, the women were asked to remove their bound feet in threat of an execution if it was not done (a harsher punishment compared to Qing penalty fees). After the revolution of Sun Yat Sen, the Founding Father of Republican China, the nationalist commenced the suppression of the foot binding practice followed with anti-foot binding protests.  The movement's intention was to make the pain of a woman the center of attention as it was an obstacle to woman's education. Subsequently, Darwinists and Feminists had attacked against it with fervor and had disputed that foot binding was an obstruction to the economic and political development of the country (rationalizing that weak women produced weak sons) and was an aspect of a woman's anguish, respectively.
A redefinition of beauty was needed in order to psychologically reverse the misled mindset of an entire race. Knowing that the practice lies on a standard of values and--an even tougher weed--on culture itself, the reformation of the concept of beauty was done by the passing away of the generation subjected to the culture. In short "what was beautiful had to be rendered ugly, and what was ugly became beautiful."  As women's bound feet and shoes (though we can still relate with this one) became the essence of feminine beauty, a "fanatical aesthetic" and "sexual mystique" developed around them. The bound foot was understood to be the most intimate and erotic part of the female anatomy, and wives, consorts, and prostitutes were chosen solely on the size and shape of their feet.  But the tragedy of it all was that women were never told that the practice was not only harmful to their own physical and emotional health, but also a costly disability to the nation with regards to its political and economic development. 
At the evolution of the contemporary century, China grasped the realism that foot binding had sketched them a face of barbarians to emerging countries. The majority of the upper and middle class society became aware of the foreign influences and the labeling of the practice as a savage behavior. With the new tide of norms came the new need for acceptance (the same cycle that created foot-binding); China turned its back on the tradition as swiftly as they had once embraced it. When the victory of Communist Party of China (CPC), headed by Mao Zedong was proclaimed in 1949 along with the People's Republic of China, the stern prevention of foot binding was effected as can be seen by the extinction of the practice in modern day China.
Human civilizations offered bizarre and horrible traditions as a way of their life. Some customs like the Eunuchs from Sumer would remove their sex organs (i.e. the penis) before puberty to attain high pitched voices for a social function. In Japan, Harakiri is a ritual wherein a Samurai would use a knife to cut and pull out his intestines without screaming or crying in pain as a proof of allegiance to the brotherhood. Another peculiarity would be the tradition of Sati in India. Sati is a Hinduism principle wherein men burn themselves alive as a symbol of piety, or faithfulness illustrating women's possession of men. 
Historically, China's foot binding was more than just a trend and expression; it was a way of life for every person during its era. The observance of this certain culture was fundamental in the society because it was engraved under the Chinese norms. It became a basis of attractiveness, higher social class, and even for marriage. For centuries, it crippled the role of women in the Chinese society and subjugated them under male domination and brought about excruciating suffering. As its history is reviewed, the end of the callous ritual of foot-binding marks an end of a significant chapter in Chinese history and the start of a new era with the dawn of female emancipation in patriarch China. One can say that our time is truly a fortunate one, because ultimately, at the end of it all, generations of Chinese females are saved from the unforgettable experience, the tragic misconceptions of beauty by society, and the altogether cruel fate that pays for being the lesser gender.