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In a Parallel Universe

Photography and concept by Eli Rezkallah.

Artist swaps gender roles in sexist vintage ads to prove a powerful point

All photo courtesy of Eli Rezkallah at Plastik studios.

From the pay gap to workplace harassment to outright physical assault, the mistreatment of women has stained the pages of history and persists into the present — but things are starting to change, thanks to courageous women — and their male allies — demanding it.

Eli Rezkallah, a visual artist and photographer from Beirut, Lebanon, is adding his voice to the movement. After noticing the blatant sexism displayed in a lot of vintage ads, he saw a link between then and now; and took it upon himself to correct it.

Recreating some of the ads, he reversed the gender roles and put men into the places women historically occupied. As thrilling as it is confronting, Rezkallah calls the project In a Parallel Universe.

“Last Thanksgiving, I was visiting my family in New Jersey and I overheard my uncles talk about how women are better off cooking, taking care of the kitchen, and fulfilling ‘their womanly duties,’” the 31-year-old wrote on his website. “Although I know that not all men like my uncles think that way I was surprised to learn that some still do.

“It’s also true that those ads were in the ’50s and some people perceive them as vintage it felt at that moment that their essence is still present in the folds of today’s modern social fabric, so I went on to imagine a parallel universe, where roles are inverted and men are given a taste of their own sexist poison.”

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Photography and concept by Eli Rezkallah.