Culture and communication styles vary greatly across the world, making our human family delightfully diverse. Not only do we speak thousands of languages, but we also engage in culturally specific speaking styles, speech patterns, and body language.
One notable example is the Italian “finger purse,” a gesture that involves pressing the tips of the fingers and the thumb together to form a purse shape and pointing it upward, often accompanied by a repeated back-and-forth or up-and-down motion.
i absolutely need to have an italian baby who gesticulates with the passion of a 64 year old sicilian man pic.twitter.com/hWqhGFGbh1— levy (@1929stockcrash) November 6, 2022
Along with punctuated emphasis on certain words, this gesture is used to convey a question with a sense of annoyance, exasperation, or confusion, particularly among Italians.
Italian hand gestures are a unique aspect of Italian communication, and they can vary depending on the region. However, the finger purse is one of the most universally recognizable and is often associated with a classic Italian grandma or grandpa. But when the gesture is performed by a tiny little Italian person, it becomes utterly hilarious.
A recent viral video, originally shared on TikTok by @guiseppe_matilde, shows a preschooler engaging in a passionate rant in Italian, complete with the finger purse. According to Italian speakers in the comments, the little girl is conveying a story about how someone commented negatively about her wearing a miniskirt.
The girl responds by expressing her frustration and defending her choice to wear a miniskirt, saying, “I can wear my miniskirt, and you mind your own business!” Her mother agrees with her, and the little girl’s feisty and feminist attitude is undeniable.
@giuseppe_matilde Secondo voi ha ragione matilde ? #foryoupage @Giò Canaletti ♬ suono originale – Istagram Matilde_vaccar
This video is an example of how culture and communication styles get passed on from generation to generation. A study conducted in Australia found that young humans across different cultures imitate adults in ways that animals don’t. While animals will only imitate adult behavior if it’s efficient and necessary to perform a task, humans will mimic even silly or frivolous behaviors that have no purpose whatsoever.
This mimicry of unnecessary actions may contribute to the complexity of human cultures. While it’s not really necessary to perform the finger purse to make a point, Italians still do it anyway. Little Italians pick it up from adult Italians, and the classic Italian communication style is passed on.
Despite the gesture’s lack of practicality, it’s undeniable that it adds a touch of charm and humor to Italian communication. As the video shows, seeing a tiny Italian person using the finger purse is both adorable and a testament to the wonderful diversity of human communication.