Guys and Dolls. A father's reach in the imaginary world of his daughter extends beyond childhood.

Girl doctor

Mattel took notice when decades of Linda Nielsen’s research revealed the social, intellectual and emotional benefits of a nurturing father-daughter relationship.

Girl dancer

The iconic American toy manufacturer was inspired by what the Wake Forest education professor has been researching and teaching for years, and leveraged the insights in their “Dads Who Play Barbie” ad campaign.

Girl teacher

Girls who spend quality time with their dads develop into self-confident, independent and resilient young women - and even pursue more STEM opportunities.

Girl astronaut

Fathers and daughters who imagine together in the make-believe world are building the foundation for a stronger, healthier father-daughter relationship in the real one.

Guys & Dolls

For more than 25 years, Wake Forest education professor Linda Nielsen has taught “Fathers and Daughters,” the only college course devoted to the father-daughter dynamic. “Strong daughters don’t just happen,” Nielsen says. “Strong daughters come as a result of having excellent fathering from the time they are infants.”

And Mattel isn’t the first Fortune 500 Company to consult with the father-daughter expert on “Dadvertising.” The marketing team at Pantene cites Nielsen’s research as the inspiration for its popular “Dad-Dos” campaign. The series of ads, featuring how-to videos of pro football players styling their daughters’ hair, debuted before the 2016 Super Bowl and sparked a viral following on social media.

So… when it comes to dads and their daughters, Wake Forest research shows you can forget the macho man stereotype. And real men do play Barbie.

Read more about this story on our news site »

More of Linda Nielsen’s research on fathers and daughters:
Steve Jobs’ daughter’s new book offers lessons on forgiveness »
WFU research inspires Super Bowl ads »

Fathers & daughters: not a textbook case »

Inca-redible Discovery: WFU biologists find a new genus of tree growing along an ancient Inca path in Peru
Bibles, Bullets and Broken Stereotypes: The relationship between religion and gun ownership... it's complicated.
New toxic waste sponge idea holds water
Work Forest: Good Vibrations
Unhappy Feet Infographic
Parenting Infographic
The root of all good
Mealworms Infographic