This AT&T and local Bell companies ad has a lot in
common with the previous examples, but also some serious
It also operates at two levels which, in this case
contradict each other.
On the surface, it acts interested in recruiting women
to be installers instead of merely operators. That's in the words.
"She's one of our first woman telephone installers. She won't be the
Below that, in the pictures, is a very different
message, as heard by women.
If Alana is to be a model to imitate, look closely at
what the phone company signals will have to be imitated.
Notice that even though she is on a pole, she is
pictured as doing nothing more than talking on the phone. This cues a
double stereotype. Women as people who talk on the phone and women
who are employed as operators. If you think that's stretching too
far, why is she smiling as she talks. Who does that suggest she is
The symbolic part is what it was and where it was in
previous examples. This time it's the tail of a belt, hanging in
exactly the right place to symbolically tie into the rest of the
Which is that this is really a male job and you can
only do it if you are masculinized. Alana is a feminized version of a
man's name. Alana is actually what used to be called a "plain Jane"
who is presented as tom-boyish. She is shown wearing not only
glasses, but unflattering glasses and an unflattering masculinized
hair style: straight, parted and hanging.
The ad's first paragraph says that Alana is 20 years
old and from San Rafael, California. Does she fit any image of a
California girl that you have ever seen?