WEARING HIGH-HEELED SHOES: THE DISCUSSION OF MODERN "FOOTBINDING" IN REPUBLICAN CHINA Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
Creator
  • Liang, Yue
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
Abstract
  • This thesis focuses on the discussion of women wearing high-heeled shoes in the Republican period (1912-1949), particularly the analogy drawn by Chinese intellectuals between footbinding and the wearing of high-heeled shoes. From the late 1910s onward, Chinese women appreciated having high-heeled shoes as part of their everyday wardrobes, not just as imported commercial objects, but more importantly, as signs of modern feminine beauty and a new fashionable lifestyle. The popularity of high-heeled shoes between the 1920s and the 1940s, however, sparked great debate over their impact on women’s health. Some intellectuals compared the wearing of high-heeled shoes to footbinding, based upon the assumption that both inflicted harmful effects on women’s bodies, and social lives, which in turn led to the ‘failure’ of the nation. Dissenters in this debate, on the other hand, considered such comparisons unfounded and ridiculous. They believed that women’s feelings, demands, and daily practice of wearing high-heeled shoes deserved more attention from intellectuals. This thesis argues that these different voices reflect the anxiety that Chinese intellectuals shared in the face of the changing world around them during the Republican period.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Tsin, Michael
  • Lin, Wei-cheng
  • King, Michelle
Degree
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
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Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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