Until 1949, the ideal length for women’s feet was as long as this bar   

The ‘ideal’ length of a perfect foot, called the “Golden Lotus”, was three inches long. This was a rare occurrence, this 3 inch perfection, but it was something to strive for nonetheless. Perfect feet were seen as a type of dowry to sweeten the pot when trying to marry off your daughter to someone with Standing. If your feet ended up over four inches long you could pretty much forget them bringing you any extra leverage when marriage offers came around – they were considered too large, and ruined; all the work done to mutilate them had been a “waste” of time.

When a girl turned anywhere from three to six years old in China, her mom would rip up strips of cloth and start binding her feet. The wrappings would be taken off daily, then rewound tighter and tighter. Sometimes the toes would be broken right away and folded under the foot; otherwise they would just be gradually bound in that direction so they’d end up there. The many bones in the top of the foot would be broken and the ball of the foot buckled in, then wrapped to the heel. It was common for the bound toes to develop gangrene due to lack of circulation and fall off. This was thought of as a blessing because it would enable the feet to be made smaller still. The girl would never be able to stand again; or play. If by some chance they even managed to stand up for one second, it was unstable and painful. That was considered insignificant in the quest for tiny feet.

All in the name of sex.

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