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Bound Feet, Young HandsTracking the Demise of Footbinding in Village China$
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Laurel Boussen and Hill Gates

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780804799553

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804799553.001.0001

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Bound Feet Across China

Bound Feet Across China

Chapter:
(p.138) Chapter Six Bound Feet Across China
Source:
Bound Feet, Young Hands
Author(s):

Laurel Bossen

Hill Gates

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804799553.003.0006

The final chapter tests the general hypothesis that continued handwork by girls and women was instrumental in the persistence of footbinding. Aggregating quantitative data from our individual village sites across China and using logistic regressions, we show that when girls performed handwork for income, the likelihood that they were footbound was significantly greater than when they did not do handwork for income. Footbinding declined earlier when girls were not involved in commercial handwork. These findings are placed in the context of China’s industrialization, the spread of textile mills, and widespread displacement of girls’ hand labor in cotton textiles. The study provides solid evidence for a radically different interpretation of China’s tradition of footbinding and its deleterious, life-long effects on millions of girls and women. A major force in its eradication was the expansion of commerce and industry.

Keywords:   Footbinding, industrialization, cotton textiles, textile mills, girls’ labor

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