Decades after the practice of bound feet died out, women are still mutilating their bodies in the name of beauty [Bound Feet Blues]

This is a fascinating article about Chinese photographer Ji Yeo and her project to photograph women in the recovery room just after cosmetic surgery – See

According to the Guardian, she hated her body when she was younger – which was tied into her low self esteem –  and looked into having cosmetic surgery.

She didn’t have the surgery but started the Beauty Recovery Room photography project instead, taking photos of women just after cosmetic surgery.

A shot from Ji Yeo's Beauty Recovery Room series

As I’ve been thinking about bound feet and why women in China did that to themselves for my story performance Bound Feet Blues, I’ve been so much more aware of issues around women and their self esteem, body image, the role of fashion as power and body mutilation/ modification.

This project is particularly striking for me because it involves Chinese and East Asian women – symbolically making them the modern equivalents of the women in China who bound their feet.

Also, the photographs show the pain and violence involved in becoming more “beautiful” – with beauty being defined by an external, cultural standard that appears to have been internalised. In Bound Feet Blues, I bring that same theme to the foreground with a scene about a woman binding her daughters feet.

My story project uses bound feet as a way of looking at women’s empowerment, vulnerability and identity in our modern lives. It’s fascinating to see other women exploring similar themes in different ways at this moment in our cultural history.

Photo: from the same Guardian article

Find out more about Bound Feet Blues at

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