i would like to ask what the jade studs and the "shoes that curved like bridges" symbolise?

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Natalie Saaris | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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The attendants adorn Tang Ao with the jade studs and the "shoes that curved like bridges" shortly before he is to serve a meal at the Queen's court. Prior to this, he has had to endure physical mutilation (foot binding, ear piercing) in order to attain a standard of beauty typical for women in that society. The jade studs and the shoes are the decorative elements that complement his mutilated body and inspire comments from the diners regarding his beauty. These final ornaments objectivize his body and emphasize that the pain he has had to undergo in his transformation to being a woman is all for the purpose of being physically attractive. He is a bauble to entertain the eyes.

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