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Feminist Ryan Gosling is a single topic Tumblr showcasing a series of image macros based on stillshots of the actor seemingly submerged in thought and various excerpts from feminist literature works. The character of Feminist Ryan Gosling can be interpreted as the sensitive counterpart of the FuckYeahRyanGosling image macro series.
The Feminist Ryan Gosling Tumblr blog was launched by writer Danielle Henderson on October 8th, 2011, featuring “feminist theory flashcards from your favorite sensitive movie dude-turned-meme.” According to the blogger’s FAQ page, Henderson started the Tumblr as a humorous way to keep track of the feminism and gender study theorists she was studying at the University of Wisconsin. The series was inspired by the fanmade Tumblr site FuckYeahRyanGosling, one of the earliest “Fuck Yeah” Tumblrs that has been curating images of the actor captioned with innocent “Hey Girl” pick up lines since 2008.
Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine
In 2010, after three years of hiatus from acting, Canadian heartthrob actor Ryan Gosling returned to the screen as the lead role in the 2010 drama film Blue Valentine. Shortly before its release, the film was given an NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) due to a scene involving Gosling’s character giving oral pleasure to the female protagonist. Gosling publicly criticized MPAA’s decision by saying it is a sexist to give films with scenes depicting women performing oral sex R ratings while his scene in Blue Valentine was given a NC-17 rating. The actor’s bold statement received praises from women’s blogosphere, most notably a column post on Ms. Magazine blog in November 2010.
Jezebel posted an article about the single topic Tumblr on the same day it launched and a number of similar articles followed on celebrity blogs like Huffington Post Women, Perez Hilton and BuzzFeed, as well as news media outlets including TIME Magazine, CBS and The Guardian. The blog also enjoyed significant coverage from the women’s fashion magazines and blogs, including Marie Claire, Stylist and Vogue among others. Since the onset of mainstream news coverage, the image macro series has continued to circulate on Tumblr as well as TwoXChromosomes subreddit.
Ryan Gosling Tumblr Blogs
The popularity of Feminist Ryan Gosling and the media obsession with the actor soon led to an extensive series of spin-off blogs centered around the phrasal template “Hey Girl, X,” covering a wide variety of academic and topical subjects including typography, film studies, medieval history, Shakespearean literature, biostatistics, feminism, international development and political science among others. In December 2011, Tumblr user Radioon released a graph illustrating the impressive growth rate of Ryan Gosling-related blogs in the community and dubbed it the “Gosling Bubble.” Meanwhile, The Daily Dot began the single topic Tumblr Gosblr to compile a directory list of Ryan Gosling-themed blogs.
In December 2011, it was announced that a book based on the Feminist Ryan Gosling blog is in progress. The book, featuring 100 pictures of Ryan Gosling captioned with feminist theory references, went on pre-order sale on April 25th, 2012 is planned to be released on August 10th, 2012.
In January 2015, Sarah Sangster and Linzi Williamson, two Canadian PhD students at University of Saskatchewan published a research paper on the psychological impact of Feminist Ryan Gosling jokes on male perception of feminism. According to the study, which surveyed a sample group of 99 college students and their opinions on feminism, male test subjects who were presented with various instances of Feminist Ryan Gosling during the experiment exhibited a significantly higher endorsement of feminist beliefs than the controlled group, including statements like “the workplace is organized around men’s oppression of women” or “using ‘man’ to mean both men and women is sexist language.”
“When they look at the meme, they aren’t just looking at the picture. They are processing the message and integrating it into their belief system.”
On January 26th, the findings of the study was first picked up by CBC News in an article titled “Hey girl, the Ryan Gosling feminist meme makes an impact,” followed by similar coverage from the Washington Post1, Toronto Sun and Hollywood Reporter on that same day. In speaking with CBC, Sangster and Linzi explained that the experiment was largely inspired by their urge to conduct a fun and more light-hearted psychological study after the joke began circulating around their research lab, as well as to find an answer to whether a meme can serve as an effective persuasive device in shaping public opinions.
“It just kind of shows that, at least for us, it shows that research doesn’t always have to be really really heavy. I think there is room for both types of research.”
Huffington Post – Feminist Ryan Gosling’ Blog Gains Popularity Using ‘Hey Girl’ Meme
Hollywood Reporter – Study: Ryan Gosling Memes Help Men Endorse Feminism