In A Parallel Universe – 6th Oct, 2021

Eli Rezkallah’s photography series “In A Parallel Universe”

Looking at all of the photographs in this particular series, what seems to be the overall message?

  • I think the overall message is to show how society has changed it’s views on the role of women.
  • During the time of the original adverts, women were often infantalised and presented as “of less value”; Rezkallah’s photographs are meant to demonstrate the misogyny within these image, as well as the progress made over the succeeding decades by shocking the viewer with the images and making them relate or empathise with the women in the original ads.

What global issues can you identify in this BOW?

  • Gender Euqlity
    • the role of women
      • this can be related to how the role of women changes in different settings; eg, cultures, times, countries, societies, etc.
      • it could also be related to how significant the role of a woman is within a society – but she is often overlooked or discredited by the men aorund her
    • How men (during this time period?) influence the people around them into adopting this misogynistic POV
  • Explotation of social issues by Coorporations
  • Change in technology (in a more literal sense, Rezkallah uses a camera while the adverts were mainly painted)

Which literary texts share a similar global issue, why and how?

  • Duffy’s collection of poems share a lot of feminist themes; some specific examples could be:
    • Mrs Lazarus – shows how women are expected to play a role in thier husband’s life even after death
    • The Devil’s Wife – (this might be a little controversial) how sometimes women recive a worse treatment then their husbands when things go wrong. (I haven’t annotated this poem so I’m not sure)
      • With the line, “… but I was the Devil’s wife which made me worse…” could suggest that the misogynistic perception of a woman’s role to be passive and kind would create even more shock to people when she does something wrong (?)

He lived. I saw the horror on his face.
I heard his mother’s crazy song. I breathed
his stench; my bridegroom in his rotting shroud,
moist and dishevelled from the grave’s slack chew,
croaking his cuckold name, disinherited, out of his time.

Duffy- Mrs Lazarus (

But life, they said, means life. Dying inside.
The Devil was evil, mad, but I was the Devil’s wife
which made me worse.
I howled in my cell.
If the Devil was gone then how could this be hell?

Duffy – The Devil’s Wife (
  • In Frankenstien the few female characters play a large role in outlining the GI of gender equality
    • Elizabeth – presented as saintly; is often infantalised in the book, as well; presented as a person that can’t do things or figure things out by themselves. Is presented as useless (in a way) but is the rock that holds the family together
    • Mother Frankenstien – is also presented as this saviour that is incapable of any wrong-doing; but she dies really early on. Victor always looks back and talks of his mother as this saintly being; it could be inffered that this is deemeaning or patronising of him to do.

AoE – Intertextuality: connecting texts

How do the photographs adhere to and deviate from print advertising conventions?

  • The photographs swap the role of the key subjects in each photo, as well as replacing key words from the original text. This comepletly changes the meaning of the photograph and clear communicates to the audience the change in representation of women in media, as well as their role in society. It also highlight how demeaning some of the adverts are. This way, they are adhering to the conventions by adopting a similar format; but are deviating from the traditional conventions by changing the meaning of it.

Concept – Transformation

How do Rezkallah’s photographs reference print adverts from 1950s America?

  • Visually, the photographs can refelct the same composition as print adverts- this demonstrates a clear comparison to the audience. By adopting the old aesthetic and visual associations, the audience can see that the newer photographs draw a comparison and are commenting on the old adverts.
  • This can be seen mainly in the fashion of the subjects (hair, clothes, jewellery). There are also clues withing the set and props; for example, the packaging of the beer bottles, the build of the kitchen. A final clue is the font and layout of the photos; they use old styled typography in traditional colours (though this doesn’t always apply)

TOK – Intertextuality: connecting texts

What kind of knowledge about a text is gained when compared and contrasted with other texts?

  • There are three different types of knowledge that can be gained: factual, conceptual, or procedural. When comparing and contrasting knowledge with other texts, one is able to then verify the validity of the knowledge gained. Through the process of cross-referencing, the knowledge gained can be assessed for its potential bias.

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