White Ribbon’s “I Knew All Along” addresses the anxieties of raising a daughter
70% of Canadians are anxious about raising daughters due to challenges for women in society
White Ribbon’s new campaign, “I Knew All Along”, captures a new father’s fears about raising a daughter. Conceived by Toronto-based creative agency Bensimon Byrne and directed by TIFF 2022 People’s Choice Award winner Hubert Davis (Untitled Films), the public service announcement encourages men to consider how they can facilitate gender equity, and eradicate gender violence, by considering these things even if they do not have daughters.
The work highlights a new father who, while holding his child in his arms, reflects on how he has behaved toward women and girls in the past. It becomes clear to him that he not only knows what she is likely to face; he could also have made the world better for her by considering his own actions sooner.
“The inspiration for ‘I Knew All Along’ came from the multitude of videos on social platforms, often played for laughs, detailing father’s worries about ‘other boys and men’ as their daughters grow up. It seemed like there was a total lack of self-examination about how they may have treated women or girls in their past,” says Joseph Bonnici, Chief Creative Officer, Bensimon Byrne. “We felt in order for this to have a powerful emotional impact and cause the self-examination that we wanted from men, it was imperative to have the penny drop for the viewer at the same time as it does for the father in the film.”
“Displays of harmful gender norms and stereotypes are so ingrained within our culture that it often takes personal experience, such as having a daughter, for many men to recognize these unhealthy behaviours,” adds Humberto Carolo, White Ribbon’s Executive Director. “I Knew All Along sheds light on the gender-based aggressions that men may have engaged in, whether verbal or behavioural, intentional, or unintentional, and reveals why they should not be ignored or minimized.”
A 2022 study* commissioned by White Ribbon explores concerns parents have after having a daughter. Three-quarters of moms (75%) and two-thirds of dads (66%) disclosed that having daughters made them more concerned about the challenges women face in society. Further, 70% of those without daughters feel that having one would make them more aware or concerned about the discrimination women face.
Displays of unhealthy masculinities such as violence, misogyny and discrimination are learned behaviours, not something men and boys are inherently born with. The mission of I Knew All Along is to highlight the experiences many women face and encourage male-identified individuals to become conscious of, and accountable for, their actions.
“As a new father to my first daughter, I want to do everything I can to build a healthy relationship with her and be a positive role model where she can learn and experience respect,” says Taylor Demetrioff, Bilingual Community Engagement Manager at White Ribbon. “It’s important to help my daughter grow up seeing her father being vulnerable, and connect with her emotionally so that she has a healthier sense of masculinity, security and respected boundaries.”
White Ribbon works to highlight the systemic and societal issues that lead to gender-based violence. Its mission is to help men and boys understand the reality and dimension of this issue so they can become allies, challenge harmful behaviours, and make real change.
“This film has the power to present complex social issues in a way that is both compelling and universal,” says director Hubert Davis. “To make an emotional impact, it was important for us to highlight a profound personal experience – like becoming a new parent. While not everyone may be a parent, many understand what it feels like to want to protect a loved one.”
About White Ribbon:
Now in its 31st year, White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls and promote gender equity, healthy relationships and new perspectives on masculinity. It was founded in 1991 as a response to the murder of 14 women engineering students at Polytechnique Montréal in 1989. Since then, among its many calls to action, White Ribbon asks men to wear white ribbons as a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.
*Data cited reflects findings from a study released by Maru Public Opinion, undertaken by sample and data collection experts at research firm Maru/Blue on November 11-14, 2022, among a random selection of 1,506 Canadian adults (839 women and 667 men) who are Maru Voice Canada panellists. Results were weighted by education, age, gender, and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of ±3.4%, 19 times out of 20 when looking at the women’s results and ±3.8%, 19 times out of 20 when looking at the men’s results. Respondents could respond in either English or French.
Campaign Title: I knew All Along
Client: White Ribbon
Executive Director: Humberto Carolo
Senior Program Manager: Louise Moyer
Agency: Bensimon Byrne
Chief Creative Officer: Joseph Bonnici
Creative Director: Debbie Chan
Creative Director: David Mueller
Associate Creative Director: Ana Seguajauregui Sanchez
Art Director: Nina Hang
Copywriter: Sophia Wilby
Copywriter: Megan Radisa
Executive Producer: Michelle Pilling
Co-Producer: Katie Link
Account Director: Cole Douglas:
Account Director: Marli Bennett
Production Company: Untitled Films
Director: Hubert Davis
Director of Photography: Kiel Milligan
Executive Producer: Tom Evelyn
Line Producer: Ian Fingland
Edit House: Rooster Post Production
Editor: Michelle Czukar
Assistant Editor: Matt Blakely
Producer: Sam MacLaren
Executive Producer: Melissa Kahn
Post Production: Fort York
Online Editor: James Marin
Producer: Valerie Moss
Transfer: Alter Ego
Colourist: Eric Whipp
Producer: Spencer Butt
Audio: Berkeley Inc.
Director / Engineer: Jared Kuemper
Producer: Tyna Maerzke