Fashion can dominate ones thoughts for the majority of the day if you are interested in following trends… But how far would you be willing to go wear one of the latest looks? Would you wear something that you know at some point could possibly kill you?
Through history men and women have been asked that exact question, and time and time again they shrugged and said, “Eh, I’ll risk it.” So we wound up with things like…
FOOT BINDING AKA THE LOTUS FEET
Foot binding otherwise known as lotus feet was a tradition for women from around the 8th centuary until the beginning of the 1900’s. It began with one concubine dancing around an emporer with silk wrapped around her feet and it ended with women who could barely walk short distances, never mind doing the hustle.
HOW IT COULD KILL YOU
In order to transform the feet from regular shaped to crazy shaped the women started early at two years to seven years when they’d have no idea of what would actually happen to their feet. First, their feet would be soaked in a bath that could be anything from herbs and water, to urine and vinegar – dependant on the family tradtion. Then all their toes, except their big one would be folded downwards and the arch of their foot bent backwards. The process would go on for a couple of years with even tighter bandages and even more disgusting foot baths until the feet were about 3 inches long.
Footbinding cut off all circulation in the toes, and the procedure often lead to gangrene or other life threatening infections. Gangrenous toes were actually considered to be a good thing as that meant that the toes may in fact fall off. The ideal foot was in fact not a foot at all but simply a continuation of the leg. If the women happened to die in the middle of all this, well that would of been a real shame, but at least she would of died with nice feet.
WHAT THE EFF WERE THEY THINKING?
A woman with normal-sized feet was considered ugly and frankly, unwedable. We all know what that’s like, when a woman who doesn’t have hideously mutilated feet starts stomping about, walking all normal and shit. Would you want to marry that woman? Of course not because that means she could get away from the kitchen – haha sis Fi!!
Women who didn’t have bound feet were considered to be provincial, because only farmers needed to be able to walk and get work done. A real lady staggered on her heels or rode piggyback, because she was unable to put any pressure on her toes (if she had any).
The foot itself was usually covered in sores, puss and gave off a repugnant smell, and if you happened upon a Chinese woman naked in the days of footbinding in China, the first thing she’d try to cover would be her feet. Not that you’d want to see those feet anyway; men actually never saw their ladies’ feet without “beautiful” silk shoes on, but if they had, I’m thinking that would ruin the mood pretty fast.
The crinoline is a hoopskirt worn under the actual skirt by women in the 19th centuary. It was made from horse hair and thread or steal, and the whole purpose was to make the skirt look more skirt-like… Makes tons of logical sense, right?
Also, since you were practically wearing a cage around your legs you could possibly also catch small animals and stomp them to death for dinner.
HOW COULD IT KILL YOU?
The steel crinoline was actually so deadly, one has to wonder why it was EVER worn in the first place. The design of it was susceptible to large gusts of wind. There are plenty of tales of women on piers strutting about with this device on that were swept up and carried out to sea, where they promptly drownded due to have a monstorous steel cage attached to their waste not to mention they probably couldnt swim either… It wasn’t ideal attire to hang around on cliffs or tall buildings, for reasons stated above.
The skirts would get caught in the spokes of carriages, presumably dragging women screeching down the street. There were also a lot of less obvious dangers of wearing these contraptions, such as knocking over candles. Don’t laugh, Henry Longfellow’s second wife went up in flames this way, and she wasn’t the only one!!
In 1863 in Santiago, Chile between 2000 – 3000 people died in a church fire after a gas lamp had lit the veils on the walls, the people had tried to run outside but the width of womens skirts blocked the doors and crinolines with women inside piled up in front of the exit, making an escape impossible even for those smart enough not to wear a bloody steel contraption under their skirts.
WHAT THE EFF WERE THEY THINKING??
The crinoline, in making someones ass look big would also make their waist appear small so that women didn’t have to wear a corset.
GREAT IDEA SPARKY.
Why would they take such extravagent measures to avoid corsets? Well, onto my next point.
The corset is an item of clothing meant to suck in a womans problem areas with the small side effect of cutting off all circulation between her legs and head.
The result was not so much an hour glass figure but rather it turned the body into an actual hour glass. Queen Maud of Norway was famous for her very small waistline and many of her gowns are still exhibitted so everyone can view the beauty and the NOT AT ALL FREAKI-ISHNESS.
HOW IT COULD KILL YOU
The act of parading in a corset didn’t become deadly until tight lacing came into fashion. By tight lacing them people were literally making this item of clothing squeeze the person wearing to the point it looked like their insides were being squeezed like a tooth of toothpaste.
Unsurprisingly, when tight lacing was fashionable people didn’t breathe very well. With their liver in their throats and their lungs in their bellies, Victorian women invented “the heaving bosoms.” Breathing the wrong way in one of these things could break a rib (a serious injury in the days before anesthesia) and cramming all of the organs inwards could cause internal bleeding. Female impersonator, Joseph Hennella, was doubly unfortunate when, in 1912, he first collapsed on stage as the result of the tight lacing from his corset, and then when The New York Times wrote the part about what killed him, they said it was his “increasing girth.”
In 1903, a women died suddenly due to two pieces of corset steel that became lodged in her heart!! When your outfit is stabs you to death, its probably a sign you’ve made a bad fashiond decision… just saying!
WHAT THE EFF WERE THEY THINKING??
What else do you do when you live a society that demands women have a shape that is physically impossible. They were stuck between wearing a cage that could fling them into oncoming traffic at any second or wearing something that could snap ribs. At that point you just flip a coin and wait for someone to invent feminism.