Rezkallah’s new photography series, titled “In a Parallel Universe,” turns real-life, sexist mid-century advertisements upside down. The artist contrasts the original ads with new ones that reverse the gender roles depicted in the photos and copy. Every time a woman was originally shown, a man is in her place, and vice versa.
For example, check out what Rezkallah did to an infamous 1953 ad for Alcoa Aluminum. Click the image below to see both the original and the new version.
In another old ad, this one for Chase & Sanborn Coffee, a husband is shown spanking his wife. In Rezkallah’s version, the wife is shown spanking her husband.
In his version of a Schlitz beer ad, a woman crying in the kitchen because she burned dinner becomes an apron-wearing man being comforted by his wife.
And in a shockingly sexist for Mr. Leggs slacks, a literal female doormat being treaded on by a man becomes a flattened man with a stiletto heel on his head.
Rezkallah, who is from Lebanan, describes his project as, “a series of fictional images, recreated from real ads in the ‘Mad Men’ era, that question modern day sexism: showing it through a humorous light to spark a conversation through role play.”
Rezkallah writes that he was inspired to do the series after overhearing his uncles at Thanksgiving talking about how women were still better off doing traditional “womanly duties” like cooking and staying in the kitchen.
“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 wrote on Instagram.
The ads can make you chuckle but also think about where women stand today and the progress that has been made in the past 60 years—which may not be much, depending on whom you ask.