Image via flickr
Of the stereotypical pastimes linked to women throughout the decades, few seem more persistent than the tendency to while away the hours on the telephone. While technology has redefined the way we communicate — and in many ways, made the landline seem like more of a novelty — these ads from eras past remind us of how easily we can be convinced that something we all do, perhaps now more than ever, was favored by one gender over another.
Take the above ad from the 80s, though miles apart, these “besties” do everything over the phone together, including aerobics routines. Perhaps the copy should have read: “Thank goodness for the advent of the extension cord, Emma. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to share my light-headed giddiness with you!”
Below we have ads from the 50s and 60s for the everyday housewife, who understands that the telephone is simply another tool of the trade. But closer examination reveals much more, “Your kitchen telephone looks so bright and beautiful on your wall, but it’s much more than that. It’s one of the most useful appliances you can have. Color telephones make your most-lived-in-room so much more livable. They let you pamper yourself…”
Image via flickr
Both ads, while very colorful and engaging, reinforced the stereotype that women hardly strayed from the kitchen; the copy only appealed to their sense of decor, as if they would find the actual function secondary to how well the phone might match their drapes. The only real mention of any useful feature is how it hangs on the wall, allowing for more counter space, and more room to prep meals.
Image via Photo of the Day Online
According to the ad above, bedside phones are important for safety, convenience, and comfort. Apparently, there’s nothing more comfortable than a hard plastic phone to snuggle up with right before bedtime, and bonus points if it comes in a precious shade of pink! As the copy states, “You know, of course, that a bedside extension phone has its practical, everyday virtues. But a bedside phone has a wonderful bonus as well. Comfort“. This ad seems to award more credit to the female consumer and her ability to discern the pros and cons of acquiring a second phone for the same room in the house. But ultimately, it assumes that she’ll want that second phone as close to her pillow as possible — and why fight it, when that’s all a lady really needs to be safe and comfortable?
What do you think these ads have to say about women and their perceived relationship with the telephone?