• Eli Rezkallah's series 'In a Parallel Universe' swaps the genders of old sexist ads, in order to highlight the ridiculousness of the expectations put on women. (Eli Rezkallah / www.elirezkallah.com)Source: Eli Rezkallah / www.elirezkallah.com
Eli Rezkallah's series 'In a Parallel Universe' explores what the world would look like if those days had been a matriarchy rather than a patriarchy.
By
Chloe Sargeant

22 Jan 2018 - 2:17 PM  UPDATED 22 Mar 2019 - 1:57 PM

A series by Lebanese photographer Eli Rezkallah is a poignant parody of a number of sexist ads from the 'Mad Men' era of advertising.

The series, titled 'In a Parallel Universe', switches the gender roles of these ads, in order to highlight the patriarchal expectations placed on women.

In the original ads, women are shown 'belonging in the kitchen', cleaning, cooking, raising children, waiting on their spouses, and in one, a woman is even being spanked by her husband... for failing to taste-test his coffee for freshness. 

On his website, Rezkallah says that the idea came to him after overhearing family members state traditional rhetoric that carries deeply misogynistic meaning, such as that women should stay in the kitchen. 

"Last Thanksgiving, I overheard my uncles talk about how women are better off cooking, taking care of the kitchen, and fulfilling 'their womanly duties'," he explains.

"Although I know that not all men like my uncles think that way I was surprised to learn that some still do, so I went on to imagine a parallel universe, where roles are inverted and men are given a taste of their own sexist poison.”

He added to the statement by telling Buzzfeed, "These ads were made in the '50s and [I] felt at that moment that their essence is still present in the folds of today's modern social fabric".

"I hope that people who are stuck in stereotypical gender roles imposed by patriarchal societies will be able to visually see the cracks in the limitation that those roles carry through this project."

Eli Rezkallah is the founder of Plastik Magazine, the first visual publication in the Middle East. You can see more of the series 'In a Parallel Universe' via his website.