A man came in the other day, with a malfunctioning e-reader. It was an older model, and he thought he was going to have to get a new one. He had his wife and daughter with him, both of whom were very… deferential towards him. I asked if I could have a look at his device, to see if I could fix it. He didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but I convinced him that it couldn’t hurt to let me try.
I popped the back off, fiddled around with the battery connection, hit the manual reset – and voila, it was working again.
The man was grudgingly grateful – I thought maybe he had been hoping to use this as an excuse to get a new device. But then, his daughter, around seven or eight years old, piped up:
“I thought you said girls couldn’t fix stuff, Dad.” He replied to her in another language, in a sharp tone of voice. “But she just fixed that, Dad. You couldn’t, and she did. And she can use computers better than you. And she’s a girl, Dad.” Her mom was shaking her head at her, and her dad turned red. He glared at me, then stomped off.
“You can do computer stuff. And you’re a girl,” she said to me.
“Yep, and my daughters are pretty good with them too,” I said.
“Your daughters can fix stuff too?” she asked me.
“Not yet, but they’re learning.”
Her mom was shaking her head still, but she looked more thoughtful than angry. The little girl looked thoughtful too. And mad.
I don’t think her dad is going to be able to keep telling her that girls can’t do stuff.