Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What's Old is New Again...But Why?

In the 10th century, Chinese women started to undergo the painful and disfiguring process of foot binding. Around the age of six, girls would have their feet wrapped tightly in bandages, causing the bones in the feet to break and stop growing. The bound foot would not grow to more than 6 inches or so in size, and was prone to atrophy and infection. Women with bound feet were often disabled for life by the process which ended recently in the 20th century (for an overview of the Chinese foot binding process, click here).

Now, in the 21st century, women are undergoing "foot lifts" or plastic surgery procedures to make their feet will look better in sandals or open-toed shoes. Some "doctors" are making women's toes look skinnier, because we all know that fat feet are a fashion no-no (I hope you can pick up on my sarcasm here). At consultations with surgeons, patients are even bringing in shoes they feel they can't wear because of their ugly feet so that the doctor can alter the patient's feet specifically for that shoe. (Click here for the full news story about this ridiculous new procedure.)

Are you kidding me? Are we really going back to ancient Chinese torture practices so we can look cute in a pair of flip flops? Thankfully, respected groups like the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society are speaking out against this unnecessary and potentially unsafe procedure. But it just makes you wonder--what's next? An elbow lift? Reconstructive knee-cap surgery? Is any of this really necessary? When will we begin to accept ourselves as the beautifully flawed creatures we are? If we spent less time obsessing over the parts of our body we hate and more time thinking about more positive, more important things, imagine what kind of world we would live in.

I, for one, am content to just have a pedicure in order to get sandal ready. Going under the knife for a trendy pair of shoes? That's completely insane.

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