Uncovering the economics of foot-binding

first_imgDepending on whom you ask, foot-binding was everything from a bizarre cultural fetish that placed male ideas of beauty ahead of women’s health and well-being to a brutal tradition intended to keep women subservient to men.But a new study led by Melissa Brown, the managing editor of the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, suggests that its real underpinnings may have been economic.Based on interviews with thousands of elderly women who experienced foot-binding, the study suggests it was used as a way to keep girls — in some cases as young as 5 — on task producing handicrafts, such as spinning thread or weaving cloth, which could be sold to support their families. The study is described in a September paper published in PLOS ONE.“One thing this paper shows is that foot-binding wasn’t an exotic custom about sex and beauty,” Brown said. “That’s important because it’s often used in high school and college text books as an example of the way in which ideas of sex and beauty can override economic interests. Well, this shows that’s not true.“But the bigger story I’m interested in … is how families managed the labor and earnings of wives and daughters,” she continued. “The fact is that Chinese daughters contributed a whole lot more economically than they’ve ever been given credit for. They were feeding themselves and more than one family member in addition. In doing so, they contributed enormously to their households.”Believed to have begun around the 10th century, the practice ended by the mid-20th century. A girl’s feet were usually bound when she was between 5 and 6 years old, when cloth strips —usually applied by either her mother or grandmother — were wrapped tightly around the foot.Over time, the smaller toes, which were forced to fold under the foot, often broke, and in the most extreme cases, the arch of the foot was broken, resulting in a dramatically arched foot that in some cases could be as small as just 10 centimeters — only slightly larger than a standard credit card. If the arch was not broken, then the foot could eventually be unbound.When they set out to document the practice, Brown and colleagues — just like many of the women who suffered through it — believed it was likely connected to marriage. “Mothers bound their daughters’ feet because they thought it would help their daughters have a better marriage … which meant they’d be able to eat regularly.” — Melissa Brown “It was clear that the women we spoke with believed the purpose was marriage,” Brown said. “And I think that’s probably what their mothers believed as well. Mothers bound their daughters’ feet because they thought it would help their daughters have a better marriage … which meant they’d be able to eat regularly.”The evidence, however, suggested otherwise.“About two-thirds of the women we interviewed had ever had bound feet, and only about one-third were still bound at the time they were getting married, but 99 percent of them got married,” Brown said. “So they didn’t need bound feet to marry. Of the 28 counties we looked at in our 2012 paper, there was a correlation between foot-binding and marrying up economically in only two. For the vast majority of women, foot-binding didn’t make any difference — it didn’t mean they couldn’t marry and it didn’t mean they married better, but that’s what they believed.”So why did families keep binding their daughters’ feet? And why did the practice persist in some rural, inland areas for so long? Brown said that the current study suggests one of the central reasons was probably economic.By the turn of the 20th century, opinions on foot-binding had begun to change, with many Chinese and Western reformers pointing to the practice as a symbol of China’s backwardness or arguing that it undermined the nation’s economic strength.The custom ended 100 years ago in China’s coastal and urban regions, and people have long assumed that its demise was due to reform-minded efforts. But the current study raises questions about that assumption.“Foot-binding ended in China’s urban and coastal areas at the same time that textile mills were being built in these areas, and thread and cloth were being produced industrially,” she said. “So it’s not clear whether urban Chinese stopped binding because people were telling them they shouldn’t do it, or because machine-spun thread and cloth were underselling hand-produced goods, and girls had to stop making home-based handicrafts and find a different way of contributing to the household income. For women who wound up doing heavy labor — either agricultural or factory work — where they were going to be standing for long periods of time, foot-binding was problematic. It’s not that they couldn’t do it. Most foot-bound women we interviewed did some agricultural labor, but it was more painful.”In rural areas, however, the economics were reversed, and the practice persisted for decades, continuing even into the 1950s in a few isolated areas.“The areas where we were interviewing women were inland, rural areas,” Brown said. “One of the sites I visited had been two days’ walk from the nearest textile mill during the 1930s, and it was toward the mountains, so there wasn’t any kind of railroad that went there.“That meant machine-produced cloth and thread had to be carried in on someone’s back, on a shoulder pole,” she continued. “That made machine-produced cloth more expensive than hand-spun, so in those rural areas it was still economically viable for people to have their daughters spinning thread or weaving cloth.”Girls producing handicrafts for sale or exchange were more likely to have been foot-bound than girls who were not. “In the current study, we looked at cotton spinners more closely. We found that Chinese girls, working in their homes for commercial sale or exchange, spun more cotton than Chinese girls spinning only for domestic use (within the household). We also compared the Chinese spinners with African-American girls and women enslaved at Thomas Jefferson’s plantations, using similar technology. In some counties, foot-bound Chinese commercial spinners spun more cotton than the average amount spun by the enslaved Americans, who were pushed to produce as much as possible.”What stopped foot-binding in rural areas, Brown suggested, wasn’t social pressure, but the construction of a road or railroad that brought cheap, machine-produced goods, which could be sold for less than handmade items.“That sounds crass, but you have to remember that most of the families we interviewed were people who had struggled to put enough food on the table,” Brown said. “If you look at agricultural societies, kids don’t usually produce enough to feed themselves until they’re in their teens. For hunter-gatherers, they don’t produce what they eat until they’re around 20.“By comparison, the Chinese commercial handicraft producers we interviewed were probably feeding themselves by 8 years old. And many girls contributed much more. There was one woman I interviewed who would weave hemp into grain bags,” she continued. “Her uncle would walk them into Wuhan (a major city in central China), where he sold the bags for enough money to bring back about 100 pounds of rice. She was feeding her entire family.”Chinese families held onto commercial spinners longer, waiting later to arrange marriages. The woman who made grain bags was married six years later than average. “These girls were putting food on the table. These contributions may have been the difference between the family eating meat once a month instead of three times a year.”This research was supported with funding from the National Science Foundation, Stanford University, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.last_img read more

South Bend Cubs look to draw Notre Dame students to games

first_imgLast year, Michiana’s baseball team changed affiliation and became the South Bend Cubs, a Single-A affiliate of Chicago’s National League team of the same name. The Cubs try to offer students an opportunity for a fun outing off campus in the general South Bend community.The Cubs play 70 home games between April and Labor Day at Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium in downtown South Bend. The team is deeply involved in local charities, including the Children’s Hospital, team president Joe Hart said. “We really service a community of 75 miles, not just South Bend,” Hart said.Hart said the atmosphere of the game can appeal to anyone.“You don’t have to be a baseball fan to come out and enjoy yourself,” Hart said. “There aren’t a ton of things to do in the South Bend area, and we’re just three miles from campus.” Hart said the relationship between the Cubs and the University is growing, despite the fact that the vast majority of the Cubs’ games are while the University is out of session. “During the summer, Notre Dame brings out different departments — employees, clients, et cetera, and in April, August and September we get a pretty good student following,” he said. Examples of this relationship included a residence hall outing to the ballpark for a tour on the Day of Community preceding the first day of classes. Later, on Aug. 25, the Senior Class Council sponsored a trip for 300 members of the class of 2017 to see a game. The team has had several interns and employees who were also students at Notre Dame. In the past, the Cubs have played a preseason exhibition game against the University’s baseball team. Half of the proceeds went to the Cubs’ charity and the other half went to the Fighting Irish’s charity of choice.To encourage attendance, the Cubs offer a range of promotions not specifically targeted toward students, including Saturday nights, when the team gives away a free 50-inch TV every inning. “It’s one of the only places where you can pay a few bucks for a ticket and walk out with a brand new, 50-inch TV,” Hart said.The team’s most popular night is Thursdays, when all beverages in the ballpark cost $2 for the entire game.Cubs games are “always fun,” senior Daniel Burns said. “The tickets are only $10, and they have great outfield grass seats where you can just sit and relax,” Burns said. “I don’t follow the team during the year, I just go to have fun. I recently bought a Cubs jersey. Best purchase in four years at Notre Dame.”Because of students like Burns, Hart said attendance does generally increase while school is in session, particularly on Thursday nights.“We always feel like the biggest issue is letting Notre Dame students know we’re here,” he said. Tags: Baseball, South Bend Cubslast_img read more

New After Midnight Stars Toni Braxton & Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds Jazz It Up

first_img Related Shows Grammy winners Toni Braxton and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds are all jazzed up and ready to go! The duo is prepping to be the next rotating celebrity guest vocalists in the toe-tapping Broadway revue After Midnight. The stars got dressed to impress, then headed to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on March 13 to greet the press. Get an early preview of the two singer-songwriters on Broadway, then catch them in After Midnight from March 18 through 30! Show Closed This production ended its run on June 29, 2014 View Comments After Midnightlast_img read more

$5.5 million broadband awarded Waitsfield Champlain Valley Telecom

first_imgUS Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch said that a $5.5 million stimulus broadband grant and loan package to Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, announced today, will help connect their most rural and remote customers to high speed fiber optic Internet access.Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday was joined by representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and of the U.S. Department of Commerce in announcing that Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom would be receiving a $3.891 million grant and $1.668 million loan to extend a fiber-to-the-home network capable of delivering between 5 megabits per second and 100 megabits per second to 1,385 residents of Addison, Chittenden, and Washington Counties.  According to Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom officials, these residents will be among some of the hardest to reach and hardest to serve in the company’s territory. “We are very pleased to be receiving this broadband stimulus funding which will have a direct benefit for many of our most rural customers,” said Gregg Haskin president and CEO of Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom.  “It is our goal to continue to evolve our network to bring next generation broadband service to our customers, and this will go a long way in helping us to accomplish this.”According to Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom officials, the company currently provides 100 percent of its customers with access to high speed internet connections.  The company says it has begun construction of an advanced fiber optic network capable of delivering next generation services including exponentially faster internet speeds to its customers than the existing telephone system can.  The federal grant and loan will ensure the most rural customers will have access to the network within three years.Leahy said, “Without this investment, Vermonters living in the most remote parts of the Mad River Valley and the Champlain Valley could wait another decade before receiving state-of-the-art broadband.  The Recovery Act is going to give people like those living in Lincoln Gap access to the same internet speeds as people in America’s most populated cities, creating economic and social opportunities available only to those living on the cutting edge of technology.”  Leahy is the most senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over USDA and RUS, and wrote to President Obama and Senate leadership in 2007 and 2008 urging inclusion of broadband funds in the stimulus bill.Sanders said, “In many places in Vermont, I hear from people who are extremely upset that in the year 2010, they still do not have the kind of high-speed broadband they need in order to function effectively in modern society.  If we are successful in accomplishing what we all want, in a reasonable period of time Vermont will have high quality broadband service available to virtually every home and business in the state.  This is great for our business climate, great for our schools and our students, and great for our larger institutions.”Welch said, “This is a common-sense investment that will build a solid foundation for economic growth.  Connecting those in the most rural parts of our state to high-speed internet access has the potential to make every home a business, linking Vermont’s entrepreneurs to the world.”  Welch is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet.Leahy, Sanders and Welch wrote to RUS Administrator Jonathan Adelstein in May highlighting the Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom proposal and other Vermont proposals.  A copy of that letter is available online at leahy.senate.gov.The award is part of a $7.2 billion broadband investment that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The USDA’s RUS was charged with awarding $2.5 billion of those funds to expand broadband access in rural America.  Including Wednesday’s announcement, Vermont has netted more than $171 million in broadband infrastructure and adoption funds from the Recovery Act.  On August 4th,  the RUS announced a $116 million grant and loan package to the Vermont Telephone Company (VTel) of Springfield to build a statewide wireless network and to enhance VTel’s southern Vermont territory with an advanced fiber optic network.  In July, the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) – which also administered a portion of the Recovery Act broadband funds — awarded VTel a $13.7 million grant to expand the company’s mid-mile fiber backbone and connect anchor institutions.  The NTIA also announced a $33.4 million grant to the Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA).Source: Vermont congressional delegation. 8.18.2010# # # # #last_img read more

Reuters move could seal Docklands as media hub

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

PFA blames drop in pension transfers on lack of market mobility

first_imgHowever, one-off payments and transfers dwindled to DKK5.6bn from DKK7.5bn.PFA blamed this drop on a lack of mobility in the Danish pensions market.This was because a number of pension providers were still failing to offer their customers the transfer allowance when they moved from a with-profits pension to a unit-link product, it said.By contrast, PFA has given this to its customers month by month since 2009, it said.Henrik Heideby, chief executive and head of the PFA group, said: “It is unfortunate the pensions market is stalling and competition is being threatened.”He added that it was very important to “re-create efficiency” in the market.“At the same time, the pensions sector must work constructively towards a solution because it has agreed with the government that pension companies should encourage more customers to move to a unit-link product,” Heideby said.Reporting interim figures, PFA said solvency coverage rose to 265% at the end of September from 227% a year before.Total assets increased to DKK420bn at the end of September from DKK417bn at the end of 2013.As a mutual company, PFA’s customers get a share of the profit in the form of KundeKapital (customer capital), in addition to investment returns on their pension products.The KundeKapital percentage increased to 13% in the first nine months of the year from 9.9% in the same period last year.After tax and minority interests, the PFA group posted a profit of DKK797m for the period, up from DKK76bn in the same period last year. Denmark’s largest commercial pensions provider PFA has reported a big swing back to investment profit but complained that other providers were stifling competition by denying customers their full allowances on transferring out of pension products.The return for with-profits pension products bounced back to 11.3% for the first nine months of the year, after a 2% loss in the same period a year earlier, while unit-link pensions returned 8.1%, up from 5.2%.In absolute terms, the PFA group made an investment return of DKK34.7bn (€4.7bn) between January and September, up from a loss of DKK3bn reported for the same period last year.Regular contributions climbed to DKK12.5bn between January and September, up from DKK11.9bn in the same period last year.last_img read more

Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage

first_imgaffirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect; Christianity Today 26 June 2015As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage. The state did not create the family, and should not try to recreate the family in its own image. We will not capitulate on marriage because biblical authority requires that we cannot. The outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage represents what seems like the result of a half-century of witnessing marriage’s decline through divorce, cohabitation, and a worldview of almost limitless sexual freedom. The Supreme Court’s actions pose incalculable risks to an already volatile social fabric by alienating those whose beliefs about marriage are motivated by deep biblical convictions and concern for the common good.The Bible clearly teaches the enduring truth that marriage consists of one man and one woman. From Genesis to Revelation, the authority of Scripture witnesses to the nature of biblical marriage as uniquely bound to the complementarity of man and woman. This truth is not negotiable. The Lord Jesus himself said that marriage is from the beginning (Matt. 19:4-6), so no human institution has the authority to redefine marriage any more than a human institution has the authority to redefine the gospel, which marriage mysteriously reflects (Eph. 5:32). The Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage demonstrates mistaken judgment by disregarding what history and countless civilizations have passed on to us, but it also represents an aftermath that evangelicals themselves, sadly, are not guiltless in contributing to. Too often, professing evangelicals have failed to model the ideals we so dearly cherish and believe are central to gospel proclamation.Evangelical churches must be faithful to the biblical witness on marriage regardless of the cultural shift. Evangelical churches in America now find themselves in a new moral landscape that calls us to minister in a context growing more hostile to a biblical sexual ethic. This is not new in the history of the church. From its earliest beginnings, whether on the margins of society or in a place of influence, the church is defined by the gospel. We insist that the gospel brings good news to all people, regardless of whether the culture considers the news good or not.The gospel must inform our approach to public witness. As evangelicals animated by the good news that God offers reconciliation through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, we commit to:Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Rom. 13:1-7); live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good; teach the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;center_img love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage; cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.The redefinition of marriage should not entail the erosion of religious liberty. In the coming years, evangelical institutions could be pressed to sacrifice their sacred beliefs about marriage and sexuality in order to accommodate whatever demands the culture and law require. We do not have the option to meet those demands without violating our consciences and surrendering the gospel. We will not allow the government to coerce or infringe upon the rights of institutions to live by the sacred belief that only men and women can enter into marriage.The gospel of Jesus Christ determines the shape and tone of our ministry. Christian theology considers its teachings about marriage both timeless and unchanging, and therefore we must stand firm in this belief. Outrage and panic are not the responses of those confident in the promises of a reigning Christ Jesus. While we believe the Supreme Court has erred in its ruling, we pledge to stand steadfastly, faithfully witnessing to the biblical teaching that marriage is the chief cornerstone of society, designed to unite men, women, and children. We promise to proclaim and live this truth at all costs, with convictions that are communicated with kindness and love.http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/june-web-only/here-we-stand-evangelical-declaration-on-marriage.html?utm_source=a_ct_special_mailing&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=16954298&utm_content=364616388&utm_campaign=2013last_img read more

School resource deputy arrested on child abuse charges

first_img“The way the deputy responds, for whatever occurred, whatever type of verbal dialogue was going on, it makes no sense and it wasn’t necessary,” Sheriff Tony said. In a press conference held on Tuesday, Sheriff Gregory Tony told reporters that he is unsure why the student was in the room or what happened before the incident, however, the response was unwarranted: A Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy serving as a school resource officer has been arrested for child abuse after surveillance video showed him slamming a student to the ground.The incident occurred on Sept. 25th at Cross Creek School in Pompano Beach.The video shows Deputy Willard Miller grabbing a 15-year-old girl by the neck and slamming her to the ground.center_img Deputy Miller was initially suspended without pay as authorities investigated the incident and as of Tuesday he was arrested on a felony charge of child abuse without great bodily harm.last_img read more

UEFA considers ‘all options’ for Champions League format

first_imgAccording to a UEFA document seen by AFP, August 29 could be chosen as the new date for the final.The New York Times reported Friday that the final would be moved from Turkey but that Istanbul could be chosen as host of a future final, when it is safe for fans to travel from abroad in large numbers.Turkey, a country of 83 million, has so far recorded 4,461 coronavirus-related deaths and nearly 161,000 confirmed cases.The country is currently in the process of loosening lockdown measures introduced to halt the spread of the virus and its domestic football season is set to resume on June 12.Changes could also be made to the format of the Europa League, the final of which was due to be played in the Polish city of Gdansk this week. Paris, France | AFP | UEFA is studying “all the options” for the format of this season’s interrupted Champions League, amid reports on Friday that European football’s governing body is considering moving the final from its scheduled venue in Istanbul.The Turkish city was due to host the final this Saturday at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, but the tournament was suspended in mid-March at the last-16 stage because of the coronavirus pandemic.UEFA still hopes to conclude the competition by the end of August, but with major changes to the format likely and games set to be played behind closed doors.“We are looking at all the options regarding the calendar and the format of the competition in the working group involving the clubs, leagues and national associations,” a UEFA spokesman told AFP.“No decision has been taken yet but there should be at the Executive Committee meeting on June 17.” Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Where is Epstein’s Alleged “Madame,” Ghislaine Maxwell?

first_imgPedophile predator Jeffrey Epstein was never married and has no children, that he knew of, but he did have a “partner” socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.Maxwell may blow the lid off the house of cards by implicating those complicit in the pair’s sex trafficking.But right know the whereabouts of Maxwell are unknown.Maxwell is the British daughter of publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, was a fixture in Manhattan high society. She had Ivana, Donald Trump, Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton as friends over the years.Eventually, Epstein became a cross between a boyfriend and a business partner with her even going so far as to calling her his “madame.”Was she the slave catcher who recruited children for Epstein’s sex ring and participated in such pedophilic encounters?A lawsuit before Epstein’s death accuses Maxwell of firsthand sexual abuse, not simply aiding and abetting Epstein’s predilections. Unsealed records from Virginia Giuffre’s testimonies against Maxwell are frankly too disturbing to relay here, but they make clear that while Maxwell prioritized using their victims to fulfill Epstein’s thrice daily sexual quotas, she used them for her own perverse pleasure.So Maxwell knows where all the bodies are buried. We just have to find her.Maxwell, who moved to Manhattan in 1991 after her father fell off a boat and died. She remained relatively unscathed after Epstein’s 2008 plea deal in Palm Beach County and was a tabloid fixture until Giuffre pursued a civil lawsuit against her.The suit was settled in the plaintiff’s favor. The settlement size remains undisclosed, but Maxwell’s legal costs lead her to sell her $15 million New York residence.As of 2017, her lawyers claim she’s likely in London, but given the threat she poses to Prince Andrew, that seems unlikely. The Daily Mail claims Maxwell is cooperating with prosecutors because securing Maxwell’s testimony is priority No. 1 for authorities attempting to find justice for the alleged victims.last_img read more