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Bound Feet, Young Hands – Tracking the Demise of Footbinding in Village China - Stanford Scholarship Online
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Bound Feet, Young Hands: Tracking the Demise of Footbinding in Village China

Laurel Boussen and Hill Gates


This book examines the once widespread practice of footbinding from the perspective of China’s gendered labor system. In contrast to the common belief that footbinding was motivated by the quest for beauty and was practiced primarily to attract a husband, this book emphasizes that footbinding was extremely widespread, not limited to the elite, and must be understood in the context of girls’ and women’s labor. In preindustrial China, rural women and girls produced vast amounts of cloth and other handcraft goods at home for local use and for market networks with a global reach. Up to the early t ... More

Keywords: footbinding, textile industry, cotton, labor, economic history, twentieth-century, China, industrialization, hand labor

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780804799553
Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2017 DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804799553.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Laurel Boussen, author
McGill University

Hill Gates, author