Irony of the Feet | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Irony of the Feet


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To the editors:

Irony is sometimes invisible if we as a society are not informed. In your January 14 issue, I wondered how many out there realize the great irony in this issue? Cover Story: "Best Foot Forward." Then on to Section Two, page 10: the Zhang Yimou's movie Raise the Red Lantern. The film "critiques Chinese feudalism and indirectly contemporary China." Let's take this further--mutilation of the female foot. In the film one of the Chinese wives "gets to sleep with the husband, receives a foot massage," etc. Do we know why a foot massage?

The Chinese tradition of bound feet is not all that simple: a pretty petite foot. It was prepared massage and all for her husband's sexual pleasure. "For a thousand years the pornography of China centered on the lotus [bound] foot. For most men, the thought of sexual intercourse without prior passionate lovemaking with the lotus foot, usually left the male as unresponsive as a stone." (Sex Life of the Foot and Shoe, William A. Rossi, Wordsworth Editions, 1976) I deal with this issue in a Performance Piece to be presented at N.A.M.E. Gallery on March 11 and 12.

Shocked, huh? You should be. How Ironic. A foot doctor and female Peda-mutilation in one issue!

Mariko Ventura-Flood


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