CARTA: Footbinding: A Gene-Culture Co-evolutionary Approach to a One Thousand Year Tradition with Ryan Nichols

2/11/2024; 15 minutes

This talk explores the 1000-year practice of "footbinding" in ethnically Han Chinese families, involving modifying young girls' feet by wrapping the toes under the sole, often resulting in broken toes. Two main hypotheses—Labor Market and Evolutionary Social Sciences—are considered for explaining the origins, maintenance, and cessation of footbinding. This talk presents evidence from autopsy results, medical examinations, anthropological records, interviews, and historical texts. It argues that evolutionary social and psychological principles related to hypergyny, mate guarding, parental competition, mate competition, and paternal uncertainty offer better explanations for the origins and maintenance of footbinding than labor market factors. (#39472)

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