3 comments on “The white room

    • And do my eyes deceive me, or is the obligatory foxy female operator a foxy African-American woman?

      Not really, Thelma Williams was a DECie and a great lady, not in any way a token or a caricature.

      • Relax. I wasn’t casting aspersions on any of the women in these ads. I was highlighting that
        (a) their accomplishments, personalities, intellects, competence, or other personal qualities weren’t ever the point of them appearing in the ads; the presumed customer was always white, male and heterosexual, so they were not expected or assumed to identify with the woman as a fellow professional and it seems they were instead meant to imagine the woman being almost like another, more attractive type of equipment that went along with the computer… this could be your office, with this computer, and this could be your secretary.
        and
        (b) Given the miserably sexist and retrograde context of the advertising industry, the working environment for most women, and society in general as previously described, the computer’s sex appeal accessory being an African-American woman instead of the “default” white woman was wretchedly small and double-edged progress, but it was nonetheless a kind of progress.

        cf. Mad Men, and the other promotional images of women with computers in this post, and in related ones.

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