Chinese foot binding was a especially barbaric process that was around mainly in rural China until recently. It was primarily a cultural practice. The process required the very restricted binding of the feet of little girls and the retaining of them bound to stop the foot from growing. This was a painful process and led to significant deformity and handicap. Those who ended up afflicted by this process had to use especially designed and produced shoes. There was quite an art form to this and the shoes that these children were required to use were embellished quite deliberately and exotically. The explanation for the process of Chinese foot binding was that smaller feet were regarded as a lot more attractive in women. A much higher price could be required by the family of the bride to be for the dowry.
The technique was very common in rural China for several centuries and only recently began to die out about 100 years ago resulting from social pressures which were brought to bear on the technique because of the pain and impairment it has been causing. You can still find some older Chinese woman alive right now with these misshaped feet from the binding in their youth. The tragedy is because of what happened once they were kids they do need to keep their feet bound because it is more comfortable than not having them bound as the deformity is now so great. There was lots of social and psychological analysis of the practice especially in the framework of this being done too please the male rather than being of any benefit to the woman. Of the latest curiosity is the current practice of females using tight fitting high heel footwear has attracted parallels with Chinese foot binding. Some of the cultural and psychological evaluation of this have definitely discussed the comparison between the two practices and who actually benefits from the practice. Both of them are painful, both produce foot deformity, and both are for the benefit of males.