Anti-Footbinding Society of Hunan: Rules and Regulations on Marriage

The purpose of organizing this society is to provide opportunities for members to arrange marriages for their children so that girls who do not bind their feet will not become social outcasts. For this reason, society members must register the names and ages of all their children, and this information will be made available to all members in the selection of mates for their children.

Every member is entitled to make selections among the registered children. However, marriages with nonmembers’ families are allowed if the young ladies do not have bound feet.

In selecting mates for their children, members must observe strict compatibility of age and generation. Furthermore, no match can be made unless both families agree to it. No member is allowed to coerce, intimidate, or use any other forms of undesirable persuasion in arranging a marriage.

Since society members have come from all parts of Hunan province, marriages can be arranged between families situated very far apart. The society encourages men of vision and determination to willingly send their daughters to distant places to be married.

A matchmaker may be engaged to arrange the marriage contract. Local customs and rituals may be followed regarding the exchange of gifts. The society suggests that frugality and simplicity be observed by all members, regardless of how wealthy they are. Furthermore, the bride’s family is not allowed to demand wedding gifts from the groom.

Similarly, in preparing the bride’s dowry, the society recommends frugality and simplicity. The groom’s family should still observe all the courtesies and should not vent their dissatisfaction with the dowry by ill-treatment of the bride.

The marriage ceremony should be discarded because ancient rituals are no longer suitable for today. However, members are allowed to follow the commonly accepted rituals and ceremonies of the Qing dynasty because sometimes, for the sake of expediency, we have to do what others do. However, the society recommends that members be guided by frugality and simplicity.

The clothing worn by member’s daughters should conform with the accepted style. However, their footwear should conform to the style of their brothers. There should be no exceptions, because other styles of footwear may be shocking and offensive to other society members, thus injuring the girl’s chance for marriage.

If people want to have worthy daughters, then they must promote women’s education. If men want their wives to be worthy, then they must donate money to establish local women’s schools. The size of the school is to be determined by the amount of the contribution. By helping other people’s daughters learn, one also helps one’s own wife because only after women’s education has been popularized can the foundations of a marriage be solid.

The above rules have been written one by one in a very simple and lucid style so they can be easily understood by everyone. If anyone feels he cannot follow any of them, he should not join the society. Furthermore, we urge all applicants to study these rules carefully to avoid future regrets.