In A Parallel Universe: Artist Swaps Gender Roles In Vintage Ads

Tara Khandelwal
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Gender Roles Vintage Ads

A 31-year-old male photographer and artist from Beirut, Lebanon, has given vintage ads a feminist makeover. Eli Rezkallah's new photo series is called “In a Parallel Universe”. The series takes vintage ads and switches the gender roles in them.


He got the idea while he visited family in New Jersey during Thanksgiving. He said that one particular conversation made him think of the idea.

“I overheard my uncles talk about how women are better off cooking, taking care of the kitchen and fulfilling ‘their womanly duties',” he told HuffPost. “Although I know that not all men 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 said that as he heard his uncle’s conversation, he felt that that the ads which were made in the cities still resonated in today’s modern social fabric.

Visual communication is more effective 

He said that the best way to make people understand what is wrong is by communicating it visually and reversing gender roles.


One ad shows a man standing on a woman head with the caption “It’s nice to have a girl around the house,” so Eli reversed it and showed a woman in heels with her foot on a man’s head and the caption, “It’s nice to have a boy around the house.”

Another ad said “we all know a woman’s place is in the home, cooking a man a delicious meal. But if you are still ensuing the bachelor’s life and don’t have a little miss waiting on you, then come down to Hardee’s for something sloppy and hastily prepared”.

Here is are some photos from his project from the magazine he founded:

We love the way this project shows exactly how sexist ads can be. Now we wonder what would happen if such role reversal was shown in vintage Indian ads!

Also Read: Sheba Karim Speaks on the Need for Diverse Voices In YA Fiction

Picture Credit: Youth Ki Awaaz

sexism feminist makeover vintage ads