several hundred male telephone operators H u m a n i t i e s
In this assignment, have been provided with two print advertisements for Bell Telephone: One from the 1950s, the other from the 1970s. This assignment requires you to:
Explain how gender roles are communicated through advertising, drawing from advertisements’ graphics, headlines, and body text, to support,
Determine the advertisements’ creators’ attitudes toward gender roles, drawing from specific visual elements for support,
Compare and contrast advertisements’ attitudes toward gender roles, using each ad’s text and graphics for support,
Evaluate effectiveness of advertising choices,
and compare and contrast each advertisement’s message.
Below are two Bell advertisements: One from 1956 and the other from 1974. After examining each advertisement, respond to the following questions and prompts (in case you are unable to read the text, I have entered it below the advertisements):
- Examine the 1956 Bell Telephone ad. How is the attitude toward gender roles implicit in this ad? How do the graphics, the headline, and the body text reinforce this attitude? What is the significance of the quotation marks around “office” in the final sentence of the third paragraph?
- Notice that the woman at the desk seems much more comfortable and at ease than the man holding the crying baby and dishes. What does this fact tell us about the attitudes toward gender roles of those who created this ad?
- Compare and contrast the 1956 Bell ad with the 1974 Bell ad, in terms of their attitudes toward gender roles. How do the text and graphics reinforce their essential differences?
- The 1956 Bell ad pictures a woman at a desk (a white-collar job); the 1975 ad pictures a woman working at a telephone pole (a blue-collar job). Would the 1974 ad have the same impact if “Alana MacFarlane” had, like her 1956 counterpart, been pictured at a desk?
- The 1974 Bell ad seems more of a public service announcement than a conventional advertisement. Compare and contrast these ads in terms of their messages to readers.
From the 1956 ad:
You can just bet the first thing he’d ask for would be a telephone in the kitchen.
You wouldn’t catch him dashing to another room every time the telephone rings or he had to make a call.
He doesn’t have to do it in his office in town. It would be mighty helpful if you didn’t have to do it in your “office” at home.
That’s in the kitchen where you do much of your work. And it’s right there that an additional telephone comes in so handy for so many things.
Along with a lot of convenience is that nice feeling of pride in having the best of everything—especially if it is one of those attractive new telephones in color.
P.S. Additional telephones in kitchen, bedroom, and other convenient places around the house cost little. The service charge is just pennies a day.
From the 1974 ad:
Alana MacFarlane is a 20 year old from San Rafael, California. She’s one of our first women telephone installers. She won’t be the last.
We also have several hundred male telephone operators. And a policy that there are no all male or all-female jobs at the phone company.
We want the men and women of the telephone company to do what they want to do, and do best.
For example, Alana likes working outdoors, “I don’t go for the office routine,” she said. “But as an installer, I get plenty of variety and a chance to move around.”
Some people like to work with their hands, or, like Alana, get a kick out of working 20 feet in the air.
Others like to drive trucks. Some we’re helping to develop into good managers.
Today, when openings exist, local Bell Companies are offering applicants and present employees some jobs they may never have thought of before. We want to help all advance to the best of their abilities.
AT&T and your local Bell Company are equal opportunity employers.