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高跟鞋与三寸金莲,疼痛与病态之美

高跟鞋与三寸金莲,疼痛与病态之美

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

从过去中国的裹小脚、到现在流行全球的高跟鞋,古今中外,女性追求美的脚步始终没有停留;即使面对各式各样难以想象的痛苦,她们从来都欣然承受。然而,“美”,尤其是流行式的“美”,是难以把握的理想,亦是善变的社会价值。当我们被淘宝爆款的“审美”淹没,空中楼阁恰成了我们的牢笼。当代生活中无处不在的种种伪概念,更使得本该朝气蓬勃的青年们白头搔更短。选择这篇文章来翻译,我们不是试图东施效颦,不是要跟风般地去煽动、去挑拨些什么。世上的一些差异是容易被忽略、却又真切地存在着的。我们视而不见的房中大象,或许哪天就踩到谁一脚。一个倾斜的社会、一个人人被狭隘定义所压抑的社会,每个人都会或多或少感到窒息。文章只提供论点,不提供标准答案。希望无论女性还是男性,都能明白:每个人都需要为自己负责;在留有余力的前提下,我们最好能为自身的存在给出自己的证明。

——刘小康

👇

高跟鞋与三寸金莲

作者:Summer Brennan

译者:刘小康

校对:泮海伦

推荐阅读:王雅婧

策划:刘小康 & 伍豪

ON HIGH HEELS AND LOTUS FEET

高跟鞋与三寸金莲

1

Sometime around eleven to twelve hundred years ago, in a palace of the Tang Dynasty in Imperial China, a young dancing girl was encouraged to wrap her feet tightly in cloth so that they would remain small, dainty and beautiful, while the rest of her body grew to maturity. Or maybe not. Instead of a young dancing girl, perhaps it was the king’s favorite concubine, who tied up her feet so that they were shaped like little hooves, to dance with on the golden stage shaped like a lotus flower that she had built for him. Because the king liked it, the other concubines followed suit. Or, it could have been a queen born with a clubfoot, who demanded that all of the women of her court wear foot bandages as well, so that their feet would resemble hers, and she would not feel like an oddity.

据传,约一千一两百年前,在唐帝国的皇宫里,一位年轻的舞女被怂恿着把双脚用布条紧紧裹起。这样,即便身体正常发育成熟,双脚看起来依旧小巧纤丽。然而,事实可能并非如此。故事主人公或许是最为得宠的妃子,而她缠足是为了让双脚看起来像是马蹄,进而在特制的金莲座上起舞。皇帝对此大加赞赏,引得嫔妃竞相效仿。又或者,可能是有位皇后天生畸形足,于是下令宫女模仿自己的脚统一缠足,她自己也就显得不那么古怪了。

There are several legends and no clear origin story to the custom of foot binding in China, though we know it was practiced at least as early as the tenth century A.D. It began as a specialized tradition, confined to the fashionable elite ladies of the royal court, but spread to become a normal, common practice among nearly all Han Chinese women by the seventeenth century. Originally, it was meant to indicate that a woman came from a family whose wealth was great enough that she need not work, or even walk very much. Beauty as idleness. Immobility as status. The bound feet were called lotus feet, after the delicate lotus flower, and the shoes to be worn with them were called lotus shoes.

中国缠足的起源,众说纷纭、真相不明。但我们知道,至迟于公元十世纪,中国女性便已开始缠足。这本是皇宫内特有的传统,仅限于宫内的上流时髦女性。但到了十七世纪,缠足逐渐扩散为全体汉族女性的普遍习俗。起初,缠足用于暗示女性家境富裕,无需劳作,步履平缓。美,是闲适的。静若处子即是身份的象征。小脚以纤弱的莲花为名,又唤“金莲”;裹住小脚的鞋子则叫“金莲鞋”(弓鞋)。

Like many indicators of status, what initially meant wealth came to mean attractiveness on its own, out of context, which all women are expected to possess, or at least to perpetually aim at, despite their social station. Beauty, that load-bearing, obscure object. Women who were not wealthy and still had to walk and work were eventually expected to bind their feet, too. Girls and women with bound feet not only walked on those feet, they labored alongside their families in shops, on farms, and in fields, their wrapped, bent, broken-and-healed lotus feet tucked into tiny slippers, walking shoes, and even work boots.

美,与形形色色的社会地位象征一样,起初象征财富,却逐渐与之脱节,本身构成了诱惑。各阶层女性不是为之倾倒、试图据为己有,就是终其一生将之视为目标。美,集万千宠爱而又难以捉摸。最终,奔波劳碌、未能养尊处优的女性也渴望通过缠足获得纤纤小脚。无论成婚与否,缠足的女性们将破碎畸形的、被反复折断的小脚塞进单鞋、便鞋、甚至工靴中,出入行走,与家人共同劳作在店铺里、农场里、田地里。

2

Around the same time that foot binding first appeared in the court of Imperial China, a Tang scholar named Duan Chengshi recorded a story on a scroll in Classical Chinese. It was about a young girl named Yexian (葉限) who had very small feet. She lived with her stepmother and stepsisters, who treated her badly. Her only friend was a magical fish. One day, the stepmother kills the fish and serves it for dinner, hiding its bones under the dung heap. When Yexian discovers what has happened, she is grief-stricken. While she weeps, an unknown figure materializes out of the sky and tells her that she can wish on the fish’s bones, and her wishes will be granted. Yexian wishes for fine clothes, and is given a robe as blue as kingfisher feathers, and a pair of gold shoes that fit her perfectly.

缠足出现在中华大地的前后,唐代学者段成式以文言文记载了一则故事。有个小脚姑娘名叫叶限,继母继姐妹待她很差,只有一条神奇的鱼是她的朋友。后来继母杀了鱼做成菜,把鱼骨藏在粪堆里。叶限知道后悲痛欲绝,正在啜泣间,神人从天而降,告诉她鱼骨可以拿来许愿,有求必应。叶限想要一身像样的衣服,便得到了一件翠鸟羽毛般湛蓝的华衣和一双十分合脚的金履。

Yexian goes to a festival dressed in her new finery, but one of her stepsisters recognizes her and she is forced to flee in haste, leaving one of her golden shoes behind. The shoe is found by a cave dweller, who then sells it to the king. The king becomes obsessed with the tiny, golden slipper. He forces every woman in the kingdom to try it on, but it is always too small. Despite being made of precious metal, it is as light as goose down, and is silent – it made no sound, not even on stone.

叶限穿上新衣服去参加节日庆典,却被继母的一个女儿认了出来。她吓得落荒而逃,慌乱中落下了一只鞋子。捡到鞋子的洞人将它卖给了国王。国王痴迷于这双小巧的金鞋,命令全国的妇女都来试穿,却没人穿得上。这双鞋不仅由金丝织成,而且轻若鸿毛,即便走在石头上也悄无声息。

The shoe maddens the king. He tortures the cave-dweller to try and ascertain the thing’s origin, but it’s no use. He orders that anyone who can wear it be taken into custody immediately. Eventually he finds Yexian, the only woman with feet small enough to wear the golden slipper. He marries her, making her his primary wife, while the stepmother and stepsisters are killed. Though the story may sound familiar, it was then the first of its kind to be written down as literature.

国王为此大发雷霆,对洞人百般拷虐,逼问金鞋来源,终究一无所获。他于是下令把所有穿得下这双鞋的人都立即带来。最终只有叶限的小脚才穿得下金鞋,她于是见到了国王。国王娶了叶限,封她为第一夫人,并处死了继母和她的两个女儿。这个故事听起来是不是很耳熟?不过,这其实是各类灰姑娘的传说中最早被文字记载的一篇。

译注:《叶限》原文出自《酉阳杂俎》续集·卷一《支诺皋 上》。故事原文疑有缺漏。

3

Beauty is mutable. It is the state of being aesthetically pleasing that transcends mere pleasantness. Its embodiment is ephemeral but so are its ideals. We may like to look down on what was done for beauty in the past that we no longer find beautiful now, but it’s more useful to try and believe in the spell it once wove over women and men; to understand that it was just as potent as anything we might succumb to today or tomorrow. It is easy to dismiss the pain of achieving beauties past as grotesque or unnecessary once we no longer find them beautiful; less so when they still captivate us.

美是易变的。美是审美愉悦超越了单纯愉悦的存在。具现化的美朝生暮死,抽象的美的理念亦如是。有人喜欢鄙视已被摒弃的旧日风尚,尽管它们一度风靡男女老少。学会承认它曾经的魔力,你将发现:我们此刻、日后所沉迷的一切,或许都逃不过沦为明日黄花的宿命。一旦人心变易,从前的事物光彩不再,过去为美痴狂的种种付出也沦为可笑的无用功。可只要仍然为之痴迷,人们就难以意识到这点。

4

Foot binding began for nearly all Han Chinese girls between the ages of four and six. Binding the feet of younger children was not feasible because, it was explained, they could not stand the pain. If their families waited until after age six or so, it was usually too late.

此后,几乎所有汉族女性都要在四五六岁时接受缠足。据信,这是因为更小的幼儿无法承受这般痛苦;而在女孩长到七岁后再缠足又已经太迟。

There were different kinds of bindings, but the general idea was the same: the bones of the toes were broken and bent upwards, or back, or both in combination, and the whole foot was tightly wrapped to control and minimize growth. The bones were then continually re-broken and set over the next several years, so that girls reached womanhood with feet that had been molded and constricted into blunt little hoof-like triangles, sometimes no bigger than the front portion of a modern stiletto.

缠足的方式有很多种,但核心思路是一样的:破坏趾骨,将之前后弯折;紧紧裹住整个脚掌抑制生长,尽量限制住脚掌大小。之后的几年里,趾骨还要被反复掰折、重新加固。如此这般,成年后的女子,双脚被硬生生塑造成钝状的、蹄子般的小小三角形,甚至不及今天细高跟鞋的前脸大。

Many of the shoes for lotus feet came with a tiny fluted heel, or an internal wedged arch, to make the already manipulated feet look even smaller when shod. High heels and lotus shoes are often mentioned in contrast to each other, but in many instances they were one and the same.

众多弓鞋都带有跷底或弯跟,让已然畸形的双脚穿上后更显小巧。高跟鞋与弓鞋时常被用作对比,其实往往并无不同。

5

Susan Sontag, writing on women and sickness, noted that frailty and vulnerability had increasingly become an ideal look for women. But this only holds true if the woman can maintain her charms – that is, if she can suffer and be made frail without complaining about it. Women are expected to suffer, must expect suffering, and yet must not speak of it.

描写过女性和疾病的桑塔格注意到,弱柳扶风已逐渐成为了理想的女性形态,但也只有在女性依然保持了魅力的前提下才能成立。女性要想获得这样的魅力,就需要承受苦难、变得虚弱的同时却毫无怨言。女人被期望受苦,女性必须遭受苦难,且能保持缄默。

‘A lady never admits that her feet hurt,’ says Marilyn Monroe’s character in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But why is that? Perhaps, despite its ubiquity in the female experience, expressed pain is an indication of damage, or impending damage. Like the princess in ‘The Princess and the Pea,’ but in reverse, a true lady of quality will not feel the pain inflicted on her, by herself or society, so that she can be considered feminine and beautiful. The pain belongs behind the scenes. To admit to the pain is to admit that there is a backstage to the scenery at all, that there is artifice, which is a kind of fraud. If pain means injury, and injury means damage, then because women have long been seen as part human, part-commodity, the expression of pain indicates an admission that she is damaged goods, and of lowered value.

梦露在《绅士爱美人》中有句台词:“一个淑女永远不会承认她的脚在痛。”可这是为了什么?也许,恰如《豌豆公主》的故事,尽管痛苦在女性的生活中无处不在,但表现疼痛则意味着伤害的迹象或征兆。与之相反,淑女要能忍耐自身或社会加之的痛苦,才能显现出阴柔魅力。疼痛只能秘不示人。承认疼痛,就等于承认自己有不为人知的一面,暴露了心机。若疼痛意味着受伤,受伤则意味着伤害,则是由于女性长期被视为男性的附属,具有了部分的商品属性。表达疼痛,等于暗示自己是受损贬值的次品。

Yexian’s slippers were impossibly small, but they were also silent.

所以,叶限的金鞋不仅小得出奇,而且走起路来悄无声息。

6

As important as these miniature, triangular feet were for Imperial Han Chinese women, just as important were what having those feet did to the body and how it moved, which an added heel or wedge further exaggerated. The women walking on such feet had to develop extra strong muscles in the thighs and backside just to keep their balance. This kind of physique was then associated with the tiny feet in their beauty ideal. The lotus feet also necessitated an extreme halting, mincing gait, which was very different from a man’s gait, walking as he did on unbroken, natural feet. This altered type of walking was deemed feminine and desirable. It is a gait not unlike that produced by a woman today walking in very high, uncomfortable heels – the feminized walk described by a group of British researchers at Portsmouth University as supernormal stimuli.

三寸金莲对女性身体的改造、以及对女性步态的影响之大,恰如它们作为汉族妇女的心头之重;而刻意附加的跷底和弯跟又夸大了这一点。为保持走路平衡,小脚女性的大腿和背部肌肉得到了额外的锻炼增强。这一体态也被与小脚审美关联起来。小脚同样逼迫女性以蹒跚扭捏的姿态行走,迥异于男性自然而正常的步态。这种扭曲的走路姿态被视为女性魅力的象征,引人趋之若鹜。当今女性踩在难受的恨天高上彳亍而行,体验与小脚并无二致。英国朴次茅斯大学的研究员称之为“超常刺激”。

Often, how a woman walks in high heels has less to do with the height of the heel itself and more to do with how well the shoe is attached to her foot, and how much pain she is in. With the more extreme bound feet, however, the distinctive walk they produced was involuntary. This elicited a sort of behavioral gender dimorphism in addition to the change in the culturally accepted female body shape. Natural feet were considered manly, and so the natural state of the body became masculine; one had to sculpt, suffer, and reinvent to be read as female.

一般而言,女性穿高跟鞋的步态主要取决于脚掌贴合度与疼痛程度,与鞋跟高度关系不大。就更为夸张的缠足而言,女性的特殊步态则是不由自主地产生的。这不仅改变了文化上所认可的女性形体,还引出了一系列的性别二元论。天足被认为太过男性化,所以天然状态的女性形体也被认为是男子气概的。女性须得塑造形体、忍受痛苦、粉饰形象,女性魅力方能得到彰显。

7

The lotus flower is a symbol of enlightenment in Buddhism, and has at times been used as a sexual metaphor in Taoist texts. It’s the name of a seated yoga position, and also a British sports car. Growing as it does out of the muck, it is often harnessed as an image of beauty in adversity. After her suicide, Sylvia Plath’s estranged husband Ted Hughes selected an epitaph for her tombstone, taken from a Chinese poem, which read: Even amidst fierce flames, a golden lotus is planted. I was taught by my hippie parents in Northern California in the 1980s that ‘lotus’ was the word for a girl’s private parts. This caused years of confusion when unfamiliar adults thought they were saying ‘flower’ or ‘sports car’ or ‘sit cross-legged’ or ‘beauty in adversity’ to me, when what I heard was something else.

莲花,是佛教中开悟的象征,在道教经文里有时则被用作交合的比喻;它还是瑜伽的一种坐姿,也是一款英国跑车的名称。莲花出淤泥而不染,常用于指代逆境中的高贵品格。西尔维娅·普拉斯自尽后,分居的丈夫特德·休斯根据汉诗为其赋墓志铭曰:“浴火金莲”。上世纪八十年代,我那嬉皮作风的父母告诉我,“莲”就是女孩的私密部位。此后,面对给我讲述花花草草、跑车、跏跌坐姿或守节美德的陌生人,我总是马耳东风,困惑了多年。

译注:原诗出自《西游记》第二回《悟彻菩提真妙理 断魔归本合元神》:“显密圆通真妙诀,惜修性命无他说。……相盘结,性命坚,却能火里种金莲。……”

8

Elizabeth Semmelhack, curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, has argued that the ‘high heel walk’ is, at least in part, culturally constructed. Ideas about what exactly high heels do to the female body have changed over time, as have descriptions of the walk. Do high heels make women totter? Strut? Sashay? Do they make the body appear curvier, or leaner?

多伦多贝塔鞋博物馆馆长伊丽莎白·赛梅哈克表示,“高跟鞋步态”至少在一定程度上是由文化塑造的。如同对步行的形容一样,高跟鞋究竟对女性身体产生了怎样的影响,人们的观点始终在随着时间变化。高跟鞋使得女性步履蹒跚,还是趾高气昂,抑或大摇大摆?它们让女性形体尽显曲线之美,还是“一马平川”?

Much has been written about the way high heels are supposed to emphasize the breasts and buttocks, making these two words sound like they refer to cuts of meat rather than regions on a woman. Do they force a curve into the lower spine and push the ribcage open? Perhaps they encourage, rather than force. It’s possible that walking in normal, well-fitting, well-secured high heels does not actually compel a person to walk any particular way at all, but rather makes certain consciously performed walks easier or possible.

声称高跟鞋能凸显胸部、臀部的文字不胜枚举,使得这两个词听上去仿佛不是人体部位,倒像是案板上割下来的肉块。高跟鞋真的能迫使腰椎弯曲、胸腔扩张吗?也许它更多的只是起到辅助作用。穿着普通、合脚、安全的高跟鞋走路并不一定会变得姿态特殊,但让刻意的步态更容易或有可能实现。

High heels do make the legs look longer, increasing their ratio to the rest of the body by putting more distance between where the toes touch down and the hips. Long before Western fashion allowed for trousers and short skirts on women, the high-heel-wearing men of seventeenth-century Europe discovered that a raised heel causes the muscles of the exposed calves and thighs to flex and look shapelier. They are like push-up bras for everything below the waist. As writer Mary Karr asserted in an essay about high heels for the New Yorker, ‘an elongated foot and leg just announces, Hey, y’all, there’s pussy at the other end of this.’

高跟鞋通过增加脚尖到臀部的距离,扩大了腿身比,让双腿更显修长。在西方风尚容许女性穿裤子和短裙的早前,踏着高跟鞋的十七世纪的欧洲男性们发现,高鞋跟使得腿部的肌肉收缩,线条更显匀称。换言之,高跟鞋简直就是男人下半身的聚拢文胸。正如作家玛丽·卡尔为《纽约客》所写的一篇随笔中所言,“修长的腿脚正是在宣告:‘嗨各位,另一头有你们想要的宝贝哦。’”

9

Bound feet were painful, but they were also beautiful, because society decided it was so. The pain was worth it because beauty was worth. As a woman, the more beautiful you were, the more worth you had. Beauty was pain and pain beauty. A Han woman without bound feet in Imperial China was considered ugly and unmarriageable, and to get married and come under the legal and sexual aegis of a man was then, and continues to be, the primary expectation of women worldwide.

小脚尽管痛苦,却是美丽的,因为社会看法如此。裹脚的痛苦也是值得的,因为变美值得付出代价。作为女子,越是美丽,身价就越高。美丽与痛苦形影不离,不分彼此。在中国封建时期,汉族女子不裹脚就是丑,很难嫁人。而古今中外,社会对女性的定位可能依然是顺利成婚,获得男方的法定保护和性庇护。

10

Many versions of the Cinderella story can be found all over the world. From ancient Egypt, to medieval Korea, to the Brothers Grimm in early nineteenth-century Prussia, each version involves four key elements. The first three are as follows: a beautiful young girl in a low social position, a man in a high social position, and a lost shoe that serves to unite them. The fourth and most important element is that the girl’s status is raised because the shoe has brought her to the man.

全球各地流传着各种版本的灰姑娘的故事。可无论是古埃及、高丽的传说,还是十九世纪初普鲁士的格林童话,所有故事都包含了四个要素。前三个要素分别是:身份卑微的美丽少女、上流社会男子、以及促成结合的掉落的鞋。第四点最为重要:鞋子把少女带到男子身边,大大提升了她的社会地位。

In these varying but similar Cinderella tales, sometimes there is a magical intermediary who puts the girl in front of the man, such as a fairy godmother, or the spirit of the girl’s dead mother who comes back in the form of a domestic animal or a tree that rains down gifts. But not always. Sometimes it is merely a matter of circumstance that throws the girl and the man together. She is hired to be a dancing girl at the palace, or her shoe is taken by a bird and dropped into a rich man’s garden. In some versions of the story, the shoe is made by the girl herself, and has been crafted or embroidered so finely that the man simply must meet and marry its craftswoman. Often, as with Yexian, it is the tiny size of the shoe that impresses the man, suggesting to him the bodily delicacy of its wearer in her absence. Every version of the story ends with a wedding as deus ex machina: The beautiful, intelligent, kind, or talented girl of low or reduced social status becomes a woman of high social status because she has been selected for marriage by a high-status man.

这些不尽相同却又类似的灰姑娘传说里,有的版本存在着将少女带到男子面前的中间人:可能是仙女教母;也可能是少女死去的生母,还魂为家畜、或者挂满礼物的树。但剧情不总是如此。有时让少女和男子相遇的仅仅是机缘巧合:女孩进了宫当舞女,或是她的鞋被鸟叼走、落在了富人家的花园。在部分故事版本中,鞋是女孩自己做的。她是如此心灵手巧,以至男子非她不娶。但更常见的是,正如叶限的故事所述,是鞋子的娇小打动男子,使他凭空想见了女孩的小鸟依人。而所有的灰姑娘故事都借用婚礼作为逆转结局:贵族男子倾心于美丽聪慧而又善良多才的女主并与之结婚,贫微少女一跃成为上流贵妇。

deus ex machina:n. /ˈdeɪʊs eks ˈmækɪnə/

一、解围之神(指古希腊及罗马戏剧中用舞台机关送进剧中以消除剧情冲突的神)

二、【戏剧】(解决戏剧中矛盾的)意想不到的情节

11

In fairy tales, women and girls are often asked to pay a price of pain, or silence, or both. In her book The Body in Pain, Elaine Scarry explains that one of the primary functions of pain is as a destroyer of language. Physical pain of all kinds defies meaningful description in its aftermath, and while it is happening, in extremis, it functions to dismantle speech into the kind of pre-linguistic sounds that can scarcely be deemed voluntary. As Virginia Woolf once wrote, let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry.

童话中,女性往往被要求付出疼痛、失声等代价。伊莱恩·斯卡利在著作《痛苦中的身体》里阐释到,疼痛的主要功能之一是摧毁语言。各类生理疼痛都难以用语言进行有效描述。疼痛发作到极点时,能够将人类语言撕扯成近乎被迫发出的兽吼。吴尔芙写道,病患若试图向医生描述头痛,立刻会哑口无言。

As if pain itself did not render one inarticulate enough, women have long been encouraged not only to tolerate physical pain, but to do so without complaining. Original sin lies conveniently with Eve, a woman wanting knowledge. Expelled from Eden, she pays for her knowledge with pain, like Hans Christian Andersen’s little mermaid. In the Disney retelling of his maritime tale, the price of pain is eclipsed by silence, to soften it for younger, contemporary audiences. It won’t cost much, just your voice! sings the octopod sea witch.

长期以来,女性不仅要强忍生理疼痛,还被要求毫无怨言,仿佛疼痛对语言的摧毁还不尽人意。原罪很容易被归咎于夏娃,而她是个试图获取真知的女性。被放逐出伊甸园后,她为真知付出了疼痛的代价,恰如安徒生笔下的小美人鱼。迪士尼在对《海的女儿》再创作的过程中,为照顾幼儿观众,将刀割的疼痛代价替换成了失去歌喉。片中海巫婆唱到:“我只要你的嗓,这根本不算啥!“

译注:引《旧约》(创世纪3:16)云:“(耶和华 神)又对女人说、我必多多加增你怀胎的苦楚、你生产儿女必多受苦楚。你必恋慕你丈夫、你丈夫必管辖你。”

12

It is a well-known maxim that women must suffer to be beautiful. It is a mantra we repeat to ourselves as we are tweezed, waxed, and threaded; as we endure another hour of cardio, or ignore pangs of hunger; as runway models swallow tissues and cotton balls in lieu of food to stay skeletal and employable; as we shiver in the cold while our dates stand secure in sturdy jeans and wool blazers; as the high heels that we have tolerated throughout an evening of dancing grow bolder and begin to make their assault at the end of the night, with ten blocks left to walk home.

美丽是要付出代价的,这是众所周知的信条,也是女性对自己反复念叨的咒语。为此,我们动用镊子、蜡纸、细线等十八般武艺来修眉;为此,我们捱过又一小时的有氧运动,无视自己已经饿到胃痛;为此,走秀模特咽下替代食物的面纸和棉球,保持皮包骨的状态以换取工作糊口;为此,我们在寒风中瑟瑟发抖,而约会对象穿着厚实的牛仔裤和羊毛夹克,对此浑然不觉;为此,我们强忍疼痛整晚穿着高跟鞋跳舞,而它越来越不听使唤,在离家十个街区的地方让我们痛到撕心裂肺。

The near universal acceptance of high heels says something about compulsory female handicap. Much of being a woman entails a kind of mass ‘consensual martyrdom,’ as coined by Brooklyn Museum director Lisa Small in a write up of her exhibit Killer Heels. Perhaps women, like Eve, are taught that they deserve pain. This is true for more significant hurts, but also for quotidian pain. Forgotten pain. The kind of pain that we forget, that men are not asked to forget and would not forget. We come to confuse tolerable with comfortable, and continue to move the line further and further as to what we are willing to tolerate. As Mary Karr wrote, every pair of excruciating heels also telegraphs a subtle masochism: that is, I am a woman who can not only take an ass-whipping; to draw your gaze, I’ll inflict one on myself.

大众对高跟鞋的普遍接受,表明了女性被强制性示弱。布鲁克林博物馆馆长丽莎·斯莫尔在为她的“杀手高跟“展览所写的评述中说,”作为女性,很多时候都需要‘自愿牺牲’的精神。“也许女性们如同夏娃一般,都被教育为疼痛是她们应得的。不论自身所遭受的是极端痛楚、还是一般疼痛,概莫能外。被遗忘的痛苦、那些被我们所忘怀的痛苦,男性不会忘怀、也不会被要求去遗忘。渐渐地,我们辨不清忍耐与舒适,不断隐忍,忍一切无可忍。正如玛丽卡尔所言,每双磨脚的高跟鞋都传达了微妙的受虐倾向:忍受鞭打只是寻常;为吸引到你,我不惜给自己上刑。

We can tell ourselves to be thankful, that it could be worse; that our toes could have been repeatedly broken and bound from the age of six; that we could be obligated to wear tight-laced corsets or painful girdles. But what if it is actually more than that? What if, rather than that we must suffer to be beautiful, what if it is actually true, at least on some level, that in order to be beautiful, we must suffer? Sweetness does not exist outside of the longing for sweetness. Our common understanding of it is backwards: Sweetness was born with our evolutionary wiring to seek it out, because of what it did for us, and not the other way around. What if we, as a patriarchal society, have decided to find beautiful in women that which causes suffering? What if the pain is actually the point?

我们可以告诉自己要懂得感恩,因为事情本可能更糟。我们本可能从六岁起脚趾就要被反复掰折、捆缚;我们还可能被迫闷在紧身衣或束腰里。但如果现实其实更糟糕呢?如果我们为了美丽所承受的痛苦比过去还要多呢?如果“为了变美就必须受苦”的理念难以动摇呢?甜美只长存在期望中,事实上并不存在。我们的认知正在普遍倒退。甜美,是人类在进化历程中不断发掘出来的,是为了丰富人类自身,而不是反过来让人们为它殉道。假如这是个在女性身上探寻美丽、铸就痛苦的男权社会,是否痛苦本身才是这一切追求的根源?

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高跟鞋与三寸金莲,疼痛与病态之美

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