Transcultural Body without Organs: From the Abolition of Chinese Foot-Binding to Medical Tourism in East Asia

By Chia-wen Kuo.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 13, 2016 $US5.00

From the nineteenth century, Westernization has played a vital role in East Asian values; one notable/notorious example would be the abolition of Chinese foot-binding in 1912. Before Westernization, foot-binding on woman was a culturally manufactured attribute to define the genders in China and other East Asian areas such as Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. After 1912, the discourse of East Asian womanhood was revolutionized due to the Western outlook, thus a shift of paradigm took place. Almost a century later, the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 has initiated many governments in Asia to strengthen their soft power economy. An example of this is medical tourism in South Korea. Many women from China and Taiwan are drawn to South Korea and have cosmetic surgery performed to alter their ethnic features in order to imitate the Western form. East Asian women’s bodies are digitized to fit into a globally approved beauty standard. Deleuze and Guttari note that the organism collapses into a Body without Organs after being decoded and deterritorialized by the flows of desire. East Asian culture has been transformed into a state of digital hybridity, in which the English language becomes an instrument to accelerate the makings of a transcultural Body without Organs in East Asia. East Asian female flesh, in terms of medical tourism, is dissolved into a state of flux as human desires are dispersed all over the internet.

Keywords: Body Modification, Chinese Foot-Binding, East Asian Womanhood

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 14, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.31-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 13, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 628.043KB)).

Chia-wen Kuo

Researcher, Permanent Peace and Development Association, Taipei, Taiwan