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August 10, 2008

Of Blockbuster discounts, Italian stereotypes and the askers of tomorrow

August 10. Day 41.

A friend wrote with this note:

I came across this weirdly offensive youtube video on a blog I sometimes read:

It made me think of the "women don't ask" aspect of your blog -- why women specifically? What's different about socialization, norms, whatever.
The cartoon is a joke (and a "joke"), but it on target about one thing: it reproduces stereotypes, i.e. how the genders are generally perceived. Why each is perceived that way, and what generalizations one could or should make about how different groups view access, privilege, negotiation and entitlement is still nebulous to me. If I may bounce the question back to you, readers, does anyone have any idea why women and men are such different askers?

Today I'm feeling ansy. It's 10:58, the time I usually roll out of bed on a Sunday, only I woke up around 7 because I had so much work to do. The day has barely started and I already feel like it's the afternoon.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some asking to do. Ta-ta.

EVENING UPDATE: I asked for a bulk discount at Blockbuster, for renting four videos at once: "Could I maybe rent 3 and get 1 free, or do you have any half-off deals?" The cashier explained that he's not authorized to give any special discounts, and I didn't push it. (Just don't ask me when I plan to see four movies in five days.)

And now, we interrupt this blogcast with a special report about the askers of tomorrow.

My worries about women and money were alleviated for about 30 seconds this evening, when I witnessed this encounter between Mr. A's 3-year-old niece and her grandfather.

CP (Cutie Pie): Give me money!

Grandpa: You want to feed your piggie?

CP: Yes!

Grandpa: You want to make your piggie grow nice and fat?

CP: Yes!!

Mumsie: Say thank you.

CP: Thank you.

CP extends her chubby hands as Grandpa fishes a dollar bill from his wallet. Eyes gleaming, she crumples the bill into a wad and clamps it until she can stuff it into her bank. Yay, little asker!

This contrasts, however, a scene a few days ago, when a family of four was at a restaurant and the father gave the son a few dollars to drop in the tip jar, reaching right past his daughter. This detail evaded the mother, who was people watching.

A girl, and an only child, demands what she wants and gets it. But with two children, the father and the boy handle the money while the females don't even come mentally or physically close to it. Two incidents -- too tiny a data set. Or is it?

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