History Of The Sui Dynasty

Submitted By fdas3213
Words: 1762
Pages: 8

Letter Fits Word Nothing is meant to be caged; so is our foot. Foot binding started in Sui Dynasty, stemming from folklore. One day when Emperor Yang of Sui sightseeing River Dong, one girl was selected to tow a boat for the Emperor. Hoping to end Emperor Yang of Sui’s tyranny, the girl bound a bayonet under her foot, trying to kill the Emperor. As the Emperor approached her, she took off shoes and stabbed at the Emperor, but she failed. Since then, the Emperor ruled that all women should bind their foot as small as no bayonet can be hided. “The American political scientist Gerry Mackie, an expert on social norms, gives the example of a large group of families in a rural area south of Beijing, in which 99 percent of women born before 1890 had bound feet.” In the early 20th century, some people started an against-foot binding campaign in China, committed to liberate women from this painful rule; however, the movement did not run smoothly. From Sui Dynasty to early 10th century, a thousand years have passed, and foot binding, along with the years passed, regardless of its antihuman character, became a major social trend. Women with tiny foot were, to our surprise, welcomed; and those with “normal”-size foot were “monsters”. The tiniest feet — three-inch “golden lotuses,” as they were known — were important as a sign of status for women who could afford not to work in the fields or walk to market; the bound foot was a sign and instrument of chastity too. To those with knowledge and normal aesthetic standard, foot binding was teeming with sickness, rending people sense of low culture. This huge disparity between modern and ingrained way of thinking unmasks us an alarming predicament: as the society marches toward its future, the mainstream social conception is unable to keep pace. In The Art of Social Change, essayist Kwame Anthony Appiah, using the example of foot binding, suggests that no easy change can be made to a “thousand-year-old practice. With the huge progress made by The Industrial Revolution, Western countries, from 17th century, such as England and Germany, started to use steam power in factories, as well as replacing old carriages by trains as a long trip transportation tool. However, Chinese Qing Dynasty, trying to protect itself from being invaded and preserve its ‘culture’, adopted the Seclusion Policy. Foot binding was considered an important ‘culture’. We can see that, even in the era where people started to use technology to better their daily life, people’s conceptual ability still remained in the past. Despite the unimaginable difference between today and thousands years ago, some people are still immersed in the past way of thinking. Against Exercise exposes how the idea of Mark Greif, a 21st century writer, contradicts with present mode of thinking. Effected by ancient Greek culture, Mark Greif concludes that modern exercise, which intends to build exercisers into good shape, changed what nature intended to do on us, and we have deviated from the traditional Greek “box gym” to the more quantitative and obsessive modern form of exercise. Also, he agrees with Ancient Greeks, whose exercises have belonged at home with other processes it resembles: eating, sleeping, grooming, and cleaning. It is true that in the past, humans would not have needed organized exercise, since a hunting or farming lifestyle was strenuous enough to provide adequate physical exertion. However, centuries have passed and we live in a sedentary world nowadays, an era when eating foods promotes weight gain and disease. Letting one’s body function in a “natural state” in this present day and age leads to the disintegration of health. A natural state at this point is not a healthy one. Attempting to exercise at home may be a solution, but many individuals lack the willpower to force themselves into work without external pressure. Going to the gym, in front of other individuals, is like a promise to oneself to maintain health.