[ Retro Scan of the Week ] At Home in High Heels

March 4th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Business woman on Family & Home Office Computing Cover October 1987“Pardon me, m’am, but your wall is glowing.”

The cover of this October 1987 issue of Family & Home Office Computing is so sociologically charged that you could interpret it in dozens of ways — some of them seemingly contradictory.

The cover story and art are reflective of the 1970s women’s movement in the US that empowered women to more freely seek careers outside of the home. And yet it’s referring to a woman working from home — while wearing semi-formal business attire, nonetheless. (I’m not particularly equipped to critique women’s fashion, but I can imagine that some women today would find the idea of working at home in this kind of outfit to be amusing.)

Plenty of people do office-style work from home these days, but in 1987, that was a very new concept. It was all made possible by advances in telecommunications and personal computers. But the concept brought with it many new challenges.

The lady seen here is a mom (see mug), and she has to worry about “juggling career and family,” as the cover states — a tricky issue that will never fully be resolved in any decade. Does she care for her children during the day, or are they at school? Is she an employee or a business owner? Why did she choose an Epson-brand PC compatible machine?

While these are all very real concerns, in this case we can answer every question quite easily: she’s just a model in a magazine cover shoot.

[ From Compute!, November 1985, p.33 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do any women read this blog? [echo, echo…] What do you think of this cover image?

3 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] At Home in High Heels”

  1. Judith Says:

    Here’s a woman! And this picture, in light of the reality of working at home, is hilarious. To begin with, now that women do more with their lives than stay home and clean house, I don’t know anyone who lives in that clean and tidy an atmosphere. Formal business attire for work at home women (I know several) is sweat pants and sweatshirts. If you have to do a conference call, combing the hair is recommended. Otherwise, whatever. And the desk? I know at least one who works from bed on a laptop – wireless printers etc. have been a real boon for the home “office” as a queen bed. And if this woman is a Mom, where are the toys? Even if the kids are old enough to be in school. there has to be some kid clutter all around.
    Of course, we all absolutely manage to have fresh flowers in the workspace. Is she really ging this in the straight-backed chair shown? Ha! Not a chance.
    Oh, and – heels? You must be kidding. 😉
    The glowing wall reminds me of Thomas Kinkade puzzles – my son always wondered how people managed to maintain the glowing nuclear reactor that was in each cottage.

  2. Justin M. Salvato Says:

    Judith, you need to tell me what those at home jobs are, because I’m sick of driving to work and dealing with people in person. Get in touch 🙂

  3. Alan Says:

    Uh, seriously, this much angst over a 25-year old magazine cover?

    In 1987, this was normal professional business clothing.

    Of course people dress in sweats to work at home today. Of course moms with kids work in the midst of clutter today. Of course they did then too. Would that have made an image that would get any one taken seriously? Not then, and not now in a lot of situations either.

    Yeah, things are more casual today than then, and we can get more done completely electronically. But remember, folks, there WAS NO Internet in 1987; you didn’t get jobs on monster.com; you met people face-to-face to get work and make deals. Of course you tried to look professional.

Leave a Reply