Footbinding: Letter to my daughter

~Allow me to break your feet.

I promise

You will be beautiful~

© Jo Farrell

Universally, women have been familiar with “taboos, constraints, and exclusionary” practices. Her body, her sexuality and her reproductive role as a mother in society have commonly been at the center of these taboos.


Judith Butler’s Gender Constitution essay parallels the idea of being a woman to an act. She makes use of Beauvoir’s claim that

“one is not born, but rather, becomes a woman.”

This is the idea that a woman is compelled to conform her body to a historical idea of “woman” so that the body becomes a stage that materializes this limited understanding of her. She, being a cultural representation in the play. The actor (woman) role plays this idea repeatedly, beat by beat until the sight of womanhood submits to a uniform understanding of her gender.

© Donna Jo Napoli
© Donna Jo Napoli

This explanation fosters the idea that the repetitive re-enactment of scenes carves out the cultural signs that create meanings for womanhood. Foot-binding is a symbol of these repeated scenes. Continue reading “Footbinding: Letter to my daughter”

10 life lessons I learnt from a 109 km race

Picking up my race pack at the Expo: Good Hope Center

As with all races, the professionals in the A seeding group have gone, they are likely at the finish line as we novices take-off.

Big speakers house the sound of invigorating music, thousands of roaring fans-families-friends stand on the sides of the starting point-flagging banners painted with multi-colored words of encouragement. The bustling, the coolness of morning, the clicking-clacking of pedals evokes the senses. Group by group, cyclists wheeze their bicycle’s closer and closer to the start line. A shot of adrenaline bursts through my body as the announcer pulls the gun shot for the group ahead to zoom off.

Carbo loaded✔Enough sleep✔Wholesome breakfast✔Race-tec securely placed✔

Start line past civic center, Cape Town-South Africa.

I am milliseconds away from the start line of the World’s Largest Timed Cycling Race. The announcer shouts, “everybody say whoopla” and off -we-go!

In 2015, I enjoyed my third Cape Town Argus cycle tour. It’s a 109km (68 miles) route. This endurance testing, leg packing, wildly thrilling race has taught me several life lessons that I would like to share with you.

Continue reading “10 life lessons I learnt from a 109 km race”