Gasps echoed through the Radcliffe gymnasium on Wednesday as audience members reacted to the image of a woman’s foot, projected on a large screen at the front of the hall.It was a foot in name only. The misshapen mass looked more like a hoof bisected by a crack. The deformity was the result of foot binding, a common practice in much of China until the middle of the last century that involved wrapping the foot of a young girl or woman tightly with a cloth to stunt its growth, explained Laurel Bossen, the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.That particular type of bound foot was called “the three-inch golden lotus,” said Bossen. “That’s the ideal. It gradually broke the girl’s arch … you can see that the arch is just a crevasse on that foot.”While at Harvard, Bossen and Melissa Brown, Radcliffe’s Frieda L. Miller Fellow, in collaboration with anthropologist Hill Gates, are writing a book on female labor and foot binding in early 20th century China. Their research is based in part on large-scale surveys in the 1990s done by Gates, and on their own interviews from the past few years with thousands of elderly women from 11 provinces in rural China.Their findings dispel several “origin myths” and mistaken assumptions associated with the brutal custom.The scholars reject the prevailing theories that bound feet in China were considered more beautiful, a means of male control over women, a sign of class status, and a chance for women to marry well. They also reject the widespread notion that such women couldn’t work, and thus contributed little to their families and the larger economy, and the belief that campaigns against the practice were what ultimately put an end to it.Instead, their research suggests that the practice was directly linked to the use of young girls and women in the hand-labor force, and that its disappearance coincided with the arrival in China of the Industrial Revolution.When they asked women during interviews why they thought their feet were bound, many responded that they were expected to “marry up economically,” said Brown, a researcher at the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota who is interested in historical processes of transformative social and cultural change.But she questioned the notion that bound feet were considered more alluring to men and that they could lead to a better marriage, because men weren’t picking their own brides. Their mothers were.“Why in the world would a mother want to pick a sexy daughter-in-law?”While the women surveyed thought foot binding would lead to a good marriage, the numbers didn’t add up. After a detailed analysis, the researchers found no overall statistically significant data to support the theory that women with bound feet were in more prosperous households after marriage as compared with their birth households.“What we found, in fact, is that there is not a link,” said Brown, adding, “The majority show no marital mobility.”So why were the feet of 7-year-old girls bound so often if the end result had no impact on their ability to marry above their class?The answer involves a financial reality.“For me, the question about foot binding has always been ‘How could rural families afford to lose women’s labor’ ”? said Bossen, anthropology professor emerita at McGill University. “What work could they do when they had bound feet?”Bossen said the research points to a clear connection between foot binding and hand labor. Mothers needed their daughters’ help to produce both cloth for the family and extra cloth for sale. They needed to keep their “willful, playful” young daughters at their sides, she said, to have them learn how to spin, wind, twist, and weave fibers they could sell when the crops failed or fell short at harvest.“For girls who are doing handwork for income, the odds are 4.5 to 1 that they will be bound,” said Bossen of the studies they conducted in China’s Yunnan Province.“Foot binding can be seen as a way of tying them down, and training them in the handwork, supervising them, and keeping them close at hand. It’s not the only way, but I would argue it became part of the cultural repertory.”And as the value of women’s hand labor decreased, so did foot binding.The eventual arrival of the Industrial Revolution had a dramatic impact on women’s work, as cotton yarn began to be imported and factories eventually replaced the work women did by hand. Citing research that spanned the 1920s to the 1940s, the researchers found that the likelihood that a woman doing commercial handwork would also have bound feet dropped drastically.The link between commercial handwork and foot binding is “highly statistically significant,” said Bossen. The arrival of cheaper machines made textiles “undercut income from hand labor and caused foot binding rates to plummet.”
continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Last week, Equifax reached a settlement for their massive data breach that affected an estimated 147 million Americans. The company has agreed to pay $700 million for claims tied to the breach, but the topics of data and cybersecurity remain unsettled overall. Institutions, including credit unions, must continue to ensure the safety of their members’ data on an ongoing basis, as threats remain prevalent.NAFCU has long been active with lawmakers on the issues of data and cybersecurity. In 2013, the association’s advocacy efforts approached the massive 2013 Target data breach head-on, calling for a legislative solution to reform the nation’s data security system. And earlier this year, NAFCU’s Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel Carrie Hunt reiterated the association’s call for a national data security standard for entities that collect and store consumers’ personal and financial information ahead of a hearing to examine ways to improve the credit reporting system.NAFCU is also engaged with the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council (FSSCC), which brings together private and public stakeholders to develop critical infrastructure strategies and initiatives. Last week, NAFCU’s Senior Counsel for Research and Policy, Andrew Morris, attended a joint meeting with the FSSCC and the Financial and Banking Infrastructure Committee. The meeting included discussion of a potential framework for promoting sector-specific operational resilience, insights regarding global cybersecurity threats, and potential approaches for enhancing supply chain transparency.
Bush, not Obama, passed enhanced license lawRegarding Mr. Vincent Belardo’s Feb. 8 letter, the Enhanced License Law was passed by Congress in 2005 under President George W. Bush, not President Barack Obama. Signed, A smart liberal Dem. Diane Sanders HombachSchenectady New York hostile to family valuesWhen introduced to someone new, it doesn’t take long for them to recognize that my accent is not native to Cincinnati. The conversation typically flows along the lines of me stating that I’m originally from New York resulting in genuine bewilderment that I don’t sound like a “New Yuhrker,” followed by me explaining that I’m from “upstate” New York, a difference without distinction in the eyes of most people in “fly over” country. My new acquaintance smiles politely while I deliver my soliloquy about how wonderful upstate New York is, the historical and cultural significance of Saratoga and Albany coupled with four-season beauty. I conclude with the polite reason for residing in Cincinnati: My wife is from Kentucky. Polite, yes. Accurate, no.The inconvenient truth is that if you desire to raise a family consistent with Christian values, there’s no compelling reason to live in New York state. Between the effort to close Catholic schools through the “substantially equivalent” review system and the legalization of infanticide through the Reproductive Health Care Act, the political class is clearly hostile to families of faith. This is in stark contrast to Ohio where we recently elected a governor who’s also about to sign a reproductive health care act: the Heartbeat Bill which will ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected (which can be as soon as six weeks gestation). The New York state that I was raised and still have family is no longer a good place to live. It’s a good place to be from. Chris RichardCincinnati, OhioThe writer is a former Burnt Hills resident. Where will it end? Who’s next to be “aborted” because “women have a right to choose?”Maybe they’ll choose a family without an old grandfather or a niece with cerebral palsy. God help us.I’m thankful for the courage of Laurie Cox, who wrote in her Feb. 9 letter that she had voted for people who support murder. She was deceived by their false “phrases” and now asked how she can live with her vote choice. She’s speaking out. How can they live with their vote?Thank you Jennifer Richard for your Feb. 9 letter about your daughter. Her tears brought me to tears. She asked what everyone should be asking, “What are we going to do? I don’t want that to happen.” Psalm 8:2 “Out of the mouths of babes.” What are we going to do?Susan HoverSchenectady Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionPro-choicers can’t rationalize murderAbortion is murder. For decades, pro-abortionists have hidden their agenda in “phrases” and cloaked it in “It’s about a woman’s right to choose; it’s her body.” Unless a woman’s body has four legs, four arms and two heads, how can you say it’s about a woman’s right over her body?There are two bodies all along, that can’t be disputed in the third trimester.Incrementally pro-abortionists succeeded in chipping away the morality of the issue and making it about “rights.” I heard state Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, say on the Jan. 22 news: “It’s not about abortion, although that’s part of it, it’s not about contraception, but that’s part of it, it’s about allowing women to really be fulfilled, as women and parents, and to choose the kind of family they want.” I encourage all New Yorkers to demand that state comptroller divest from fossil fuels and seek a better rate of return elsewhere.“Activists from 350.0rg, an advocacy group combating climate change, hired an investment firm to calculate how the NYS state pension fund would have fared if it had divested when first requested. The answer was it would be worth a “cool” (pun intended) $5 billion more and will grow in the future.” (https://cityandstateny.com/articles/opinion/opinion/fossil-fuel-divestment-boost-new-york-pension-funds.html).“Exchange Traded Funds performed poorly over the last 7 years but this past year, renewable energy bested fossil fuels. In the last 3 months – a period of sharp market and oil price corrections – renewables trounced both fossil fuels and the S&P 500. Even Exxon Mobil lost over 30 percent of its value in the last 5 years.” (https://seekingalpha.com/article/4231525-renewable-energy-etfs-now-outperforming-will-continue-2019).“Oil and gas companies misled the public and investors about climate change for decades. Even heirs to the original oil fortune of John D. Rockefeller, along with a growing list of philanthropic investors, announced they are divesting”: (https://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Cuomo-is-right-on-fossil-fuel-divestment-12470817.php).“NYS is planning to divest almost $400 billion and Governor Cuomo states he is working with the NYS Comptroller to further this effort.” (https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/new-york-takes-leap-renewable-energy-sources.php).Learn how you can to divest from fossil fuels: (https://gofossilfree.org/usa/your-roadmap-to-personal-divestment/).Go to https://gofossilfree.org/ny/divest-ny-sandy5/ by February 27 to tell the New York State Comptroller to divest from fossil fuels. Encourage NY to divest from fossil fuels Big Apple life is not right for upstate Birth rates just one way to save planetAny reduction in birth rates are surely a welcome development. Yet this is hardly a cause for feeling optimistic about the impact of overpopulation on global warming, as Arthur Glaude seemed to imply in his Jan. 18 letter. Blue sky, sunshine, a pot of coffee (undiluted) and a window rattling YouTube medley of Irish pub music inspired an epiphany of mind-expanding magnitude.The revelation is an analogy of the conflict between Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the English crown. It reminds me of the struggles between upstate New York and the “Big Apple” thugs and their outpost in Saratoga Springs. They have yet to come with their S.A.S. and armored cars to subdue and oppress the savages and heathens of upstate. However their attitudes, words and actions hint that it’s not off the table in the penthouses and mansions downstate.Andrew Cuomo reprises in the role of “Iron Lady” Thatcher and the downstate-dominated state Legislature is his Parliament. They are people who are convinced beyond doubt that the “Big Apple” way of life is the only way, and they will not rest until it’s imposed upon every citizen of New York and the U.S.At the national level, we find Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. What more can I say about “Good Ol’ Chuck” that he’s not more than happy to say about himself? As for “Kiki,” she lays claim to being upstate born and bred, yet her loyalty is wedded to “Big Apple” wealth and power. Oh Hillary!Think about it; “Iron Lady” Cuomo and “Kiki” have presidential aspirations. “Chuckie” is a self-appointed champion of the common man. Sleep well tonight.Mark RahnScotia So, divest/reinvest now and help mitigate climate change. Robert ConnorsCanaan Bush administration came up with enhanced ID lawsIn response to his Feb. 8 letter, Vincent Belardo and titled “Liberal Dems show how dumb they are,” Mr. Belardo stated that “About seven or eight years ago, President Obama passed the enhanced license law. The enhanced law states that if you want to go to Mexico or Canada, you need the enhanced license,” and “I went to motor vehicles to get the real ID license.”After a quick visit to Wikipedia, my understanding of this topic is that the guidelines for both the enhanced license and the real ID license, which Mr. Belardo had attempted to get, were established under the Bush administration in 2005 at the behest of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Real ID Act of 2005 modified U.S. federal law regarding the issuance procedures for state driver’s licenses and identity documents. The law and its requirements were not established under President Obama. The requirements which Mr. Belardo was asked to comply with in order to receive his real ID were established under this law’s more stringent guidelines. I’m not sure why his discharge papers were not accepted but I’m guessing that they did not meet the proof of legal status requirement, something which is stated on a birth certificate. I recently needed to get a new copy of my birth certificate, as my old one was completely faded. It’s a little time consuming but doable. If Mr. Belardo has lost his birth certificate, he can apply for a new one.Mary Ellen RiellSchenectady Predictions of overall increases in population for the Earth are estimated to range from about 9 billion to 11 billion by the end of this century. What impact this increase will have on the sustainability of our planet depends on where this growth will occur.People in less-wealthy urban centers generate much less carbon compared to those in most wealthy countries. The unfortunate trend, in places like China, is for people in urban environments to adopt consumption rates similar to high-income nations, which only exacerbates global warming. Despite some slowing in population growth, it could take centuries for any meaningful reductions to occur. Speeding the rate of decline in birth rates across the globe is part of the solution. Education and the increased status of women in societies have been shown to create a significant reduction in fertility rates.Climate change will remain a major threat to our planet. So please recycle, reduce your consumption levels and embrace a reduced carbon lifestyle.Also, encourage a child-free choice or adopt children as a means of sustaining the viability of our planet. Our very existence, as well as that of other species, will depend on it.Doreen HarrisScotia More from The Daily Gazette:Cuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes