Oh, hey girl. Those sexy feminist Ryan Gosling memes just did, like, the sexiest Ryan Gosling thing ever.
You’ve probably seen at least one by now: those feminist Ryan Gosling memes where a cute pic of the Gos is accompanied by positive messaging like “hey girl, let me get a hammer so I can help you shatter that glass ceiling”, or “hey girl, the post-feminist fetishisation of motherhood is deeply rooted in classism, but I still think we’d make cute babies.” There are also some less serious memes, like “hey girl, I forgot to get you a present but you can unwrap my package. Happy Birthday”, and “hey girl, hold the sugar in my coffee, you’re sweet enough for the both of us.”
We’ve covered the memes here on EcoSalon before, because we’re not above lusting after Ryan Gosling some of the messaging really hit home for us. And it appears it’s not just women who find the feminist Ryan Gosling memes so powerful.
A recent study found that men who view the memes identified as more pro-feminism afterwards. Yes, PhD students actually studied this. For science. Vox reports: “The researchers believe that the memes make feminism seem appealing because they imply that the real Ryan Gosling espouses the views. In other words, Gosling is cool, so feminism suddenly seems cool too.”
The researchers, both women, polled 99 undergrad students (69 women, 30 men). The groups were asked to look at the memes, either just the picture of Gosling, or the pic with the text on it. They were then asked about whether or not they self-identified as feminists and if they had sympathies for specific types of feminism such as radical feminism, socialist feminism, and women of color feminism.
According to Vox, the researchers found that “viewing the memes had no significant effect on women’s test results, and that neither gender showed any changes in how likely they were to self-identify with feminism. But men who viewed the meme were significantly more likely to endorse views associated with radical feminism and socialist feminism.”
So in other words, men may be more likely to succumb to peer pressure to support women’s issues, even if that peer is a celebrity they don’t know and the subject is content written by women. Yay?
As far-fetched as that logic seems, I say we take it. Not that it’s going to get Hillary elected or anything, but even if it chips away just a little bit at the rampant gender stereotypes and sexism in our culture, it’s still pretty awesome – especially considering, you know, the fact that Ryan Gosling didn’t actually say any of those things. (And many of the memes were actually written by women.)
But hey, men, there’s no shame in aligning yourself with imaginary Gosling comments. So much of our culture is influenced by imaginary content already—from books and television to movies and video games, not to mention the fake sex many men watch on the internet and try to recreate in the real world. It’s life imitating make-believe, be that bona fide art or otherwise. It’s how the world works, right? So what’s the big deal in expanding our opinions on important social issues like gender equality via the unbelievable phenomenon of Ryan Gosling memes?
At a time when rape and violence against women are still issues men have trouble discussing, let alone believing, we can use all the help we can get. And if gender relations get some of that help through something as ridiculous as a shirtless Ryan Gosling, we won’t say no. How about you, Ryan?
Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
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Images via the wonderful world of Ryan Gosling memes