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Breast Binding Bans

June 12, 2011

I spent most of yesterday looking over public notices over breast binding bans. These notices are almost always written in the most unbearable officialese jargon:

1. Hunan Province, Changde County – Guo Lin’s Breast Binding Ban (here)

2. Chongming County (崇明县) – Published in Domestic Affairs Bulletin (内政公报)
1928
Zhu Sun, a Chongming official claims that breast binding hurts hygiene and weakens the body, so he asks to order a ban on women’s breast binding. It not only hurts people’s hygiene but it greatly harms the race’s eugenics (优生 yousheng). This bulletin explicitly mentions the importance of reaching out to female students because they often “contract” this bad practice.
Note: Chongming County is Chongming Island, a part of Shanghai

3. Jiangsu Province, Baoshan County (宝山县) – Published in Baoshan County Education Monthly (宝山县教育月刊)
1929
It lists the order as County Government Order #1192, Jiangsu Province Republican Government Order #8392
Quotes from Guo Lin’s breast binding ban, it orders a ban of breast binding because it is an evil practice which hurts the body. Especially orders the public education bureau to publicize the ban.
Note: Baoshan County is now part of Shanghai but the listing notes that it is in Jiangsu Province

4. Zhejiang Province, Yuyao County (余姚县) – Published in Zhejiang Province, Yuyao County Government Bulletin (浙江余姚县政府公报)
1930
Zhejiang government #206
The bulletin notes that although there was a previous order, many women still bind their breasts. There were 100 bulletins printed and distributed about the ban and it was up to the county head to order them to be put up. Breast binding must end “so as to exhalt the race’s spirit.” Women’s education officials (女职教员) must be the first to liberate their chests as an example to others.

5. Guangdong Province, Guangzhou – Zhu Jiahua’s ban
More on this in my next post!

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