Thursday, February 07, 2008

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

As I wrote in "Next UP," I have a serious foot-phobia, and I was not sure I could get through this novel. The writing was lovely and lyrical and sounded exactly the way I imagined Lily would speak.

But I was constantly twisting and turning and fidgeting my feet. I felt the excruciating pain those women must have went through to snare a rich husband. How inhuman! How could mothers possible subject their 6 or 7 year old daughters to the same torture they experienced as young girls? I know, I know, it was the society, and to prosper in that society, all women, who wanted a good match for their daughters, had to force foot-binding those poor children. I guess stiletto heels, make-up and pantyhose are not quite as bad.

The capacity of human beings to inflict pain and suffering on the most vulnerable members of society is an unspeakable tragedy. With a death rate of ten percent, you would think women would rise up and put a stop to that barbarity.

I have always admired Chinese culture -- the calligraphy, the poetry, the porcelain and pottery, the food, of course, but I was not truly aware of this dark side of Chinese history.

What women put themselves through for men! Men truly do not deserve women, and some day, they will wake up and realize what they have done -- just as Snow Flower's husband did when it was too late. Hug a woman, give her a kiss and gentle touch. Remember, as the Chinese proverb says, "Women hold up half the sky." Three-fifths, I think.

--Chiron, 2/7/08

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