To the editors:

Irony is sometimes invisible if we as a society are not informed. In your January 14 issue, I wondered how many out there realize the great irony in this issue? Cover Story: “Best Foot Forward.” Then on to Section Two, page 10: the Zhang Yimou’s movie Raise the Red Lantern. The film “critiques Chinese feudalism and indirectly contemporary China.” Let’s take this further–mutilation of the female foot. In the film one of the Chinese wives “gets to sleep with the husband, receives a foot massage,” etc. Do we know why a foot massage?

The Chinese tradition of bound feet is not all that simple: a pretty petite foot. It was prepared massage and all for her husband’s sexual pleasure. “For a thousand years the pornography of China centered on the lotus [bound] foot. For most men, the thought of sexual intercourse without prior passionate lovemaking with the lotus foot, usually left the male as unresponsive as a stone.” (Sex Life of the Foot and Shoe, William A. Rossi, Wordsworth Editions, 1976) I deal with this issue in a Performance Piece to be presented at N.A.M.E. Gallery on March 11 and 12.

Shocked, huh? You should be. How Ironic. A foot doctor and female Peda-mutilation in one issue!

Mariko Ventura-Flood