22 dads and their daughters get real about feminism in this incredible video.

"As the father of a daughter..."

So begins many a bad take these days by men outraged over news stories about sexual assault, harassment, or inequality.

While it's good to be outraged by those things, "As the father of a daughter" holds some troubling implications: first, that it's somehow difficult for them to see women as people deserving of fair treatment without having raised one. And second, that just having a daughter is apparently enough to make them an expert on women's issues.


Photographers Marzia Messina and Sham Hinchey wanted to challenge dads to really sit down and think about what feminism means and why it matters.

Inspired by talks with their own daughter, Penelope, they launched a project called "Dear Daughters" in which they recruited 22 men and their daughters, ages 8 to 11, to sit down and have frank conversations about equality.

All photos by "Dear Daughters," used with permission.

Using a simple board game designed by Messina and Penelope, the dads and daughters took turns drawing question cards that prompted discussions.

The cards asked things like "How do you see yourself and what will you be doing when you're 25?" and "What lessons have you learned by bringing a daughter into the world?"

"The first questions were very soft, but as the game progressed they became more challenging and the couples really had to work hard and help each other," Messina says in an email.

The girls started with light musings about their future: "I'm going to be a social media influencer (when I'm 25)" one girl told her dad. Another said she "wouldn't necessarily be 'drinking drugs' or anything." Another told her dad she wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up.

From there, the daughters were asked to name a woman they admired: Michelle Obama, Jessie Graff (the first female Ninja Warrior champion), Venus and Serena Williams, and Hillary Clinton were all popular answers.

Soon the tables turned on the dads, who were asked to come up with a slogan for a hypothetical women's rights march.

With help from their daughters, they came up with some pretty solid taglines.

"We want equal rights and we want them now," one dad suggested. "She persisted," added another, referencing his admiration for Elizabeth Warren. "Go forward, be brave. That would be mine," said another.

(OK, so the actual slogans could use some workshopping.)

Watching the wheels turn in the dads' heads as they attempted to distill and encapsulate the essence of feminism in only a few words, is fascinating. You can tell it's something they thought they understood but had never been forced to articulate before.

Then: "What lessons have you learned by bringing a daughter into the world?"

A few of the men pondered how being a parent in general changes you. But others seemed heavily affected by the exercise of taking the time to see the world through their daughters' eyes — waking them up to problems that all women experience, not just their daughters.

"I never thought about the hate speech," said one of the dads. "There are a whole lot of words for women, but there aren't a lot of words to describe the same behavior in men."

"(I learned) just how few women there are in similar positions as there are men," said another, observing that there has never been a female president or a woman on the moon.

"It makes you wonder, can you change the world?" one of the fathers said. "And can you strengthen and prepare your daughter to be strong enough for the challenges in that world?"

At the end of the game, each pair posed for a portrait, with the hopes that these conversations would strengthen their relationships and help them communicate more openly about all kinds of important issues in the future.

These discussions are a reminder that being a dad doesn't mean men suddenly inherently understand the importance of feminism — and that their support for gender equality has to extend beyond their own offspring.

That understanding and support comes only from effort, thought, and open conversation.

The same goes for all men. Having a wife, girlfriend, mother, or female friend doesn't give you a pass; it doesn't mean you don't have to put in the work to understand the world through a woman's eyes. Nor should you only begin caring about gender equality once you have women in your life who you care about. Women are people, whether you personally know them or not.

The power of "Dear Daughters" doesn't come from the fact that these men are fathers. It comes from the fact that many of them are examining inequality in the world for perhaps the first time — and hopefully not for the last time.

"We have had so many comments and encouragement from men and women who have asked about the project and the game to play at home," Hinchey says. (They hope to make it available soon.)

"It has inspired women to get their husbands involved in conversations which they inherently thought were reserved only for the females of the house."

Messina and Hinchey reiterated that being a father to daughters does not make a man a feminist, but that conversations like the one sparked in "Dear Daughters" can go a long way toward that goal.

Even more importantly, perhaps, they hope men will start having similar conversations about feminism with their sons, and/or with other men, unprompted by anything but a genuine desire to make the world a better place.

Watch the full video of the project below:

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As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

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Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign, is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

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Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

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Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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