Monday, August 31, 2009

This Woman's Work

As I was scrubbing our stairs yesterday as part of my marathon cleaning session, I started to sing "The Work Song" from the Disney movie Cinderella. You know the one:

Cinderelly, Cinderelly
Night and day it's Cinderelly

Make the fire, fix the breakfast

Wash the dishes, do the mopping

Quite catchy, isn't it?

I was having a brief moment feeling sorry for myself for a) not keeping things tidy enough to avoid spending four hours on an otherwise glorious Sunday afternoon cleaning and b) having so many rooms to clean (wouldn't wish 2.5 baths on three different floors to my worst enemy), when my mind wandered to some of the books I've read recently. Vivaldi's Virgins, about an 18th century violin virtuoso and Church ward who searches for her birth parents; A Thousand Splendid Suns, about strength and friendship amidst tragedy in Afghanistan and The Girl Who Played with Fire, about a lonely Swedish hacker who has been used and abused by all the men in her life, including the ones meant to help her.

No coincidence that I gravitate toward books with strong female characters (I'm definitely not one for moony teenage drivel like Twilight), and what struck me reading these books in succession is how similar these characters really are, in spite of generation and location. How women continue to be defined by their gender, by their relationships with men, by their sexuality and by their predetermined roles in life. And it made me extremely grateful to be scrubbing my own stairs, in my own home, knowing that I am neither confined nor defined by it.


  1. I have been a divorced single parent for 13 years now and I seem to leave everything piled up for a Sunday as well. Plus I got to mow a huge lawn with a push mower.

    I try not to be defined by it all.

    My yoga meditation keeps me sane!

  2. Confined nor defined - WOW...power statement my friend. :-)


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