hey girl
February 19, 2015 7:49 PM   Subscribe

"It's not just that feminist ideas may be more accessible when packaged in a clever Internet meme. It's also that, for decades, opponents of the movement have painted feminists as unattractive, humorless, man-hating, lesbian militants. And we tend to find our feminist messengers more persuasive when they challenge these stereotypes." Can Feminist Ryan Gosling Really Make Men More Feminist? posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (44 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
The study, conducted by two psychology Ph.D. students at the University of Saskatchewan

i chose the wrong discipline
posted by kagredon at 7:53 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


i chose the wrong discipline

It is never too late to study Saskatchewan.

With its flirty “Hey girl” preface, his feminist ideals are very explicitly linked to his sex appeal; far from undermining his straight, masculine cred, his fluency in the theory of Simone de Beauvoir and passion for reproductive rights are portrayed as just as hot—to a heterosexual female gaze—as his rippling abs and baby blues.

I have neither blue eyes nor rippling abs, but knowing just enough feminist and literary theory to bluff my way through a conversation got me my first date with my now-wife, so I'll vouch for this as a winning technique.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:05 PM on February 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


Clearly we need more feminist Ryan Gosling!

Is RG really a feminist?
posted by bunderful at 8:06 PM on February 19, 2015


When asking "who gets to be a feminist", it really seems less about equality and more about controlling other people.
posted by four panels at 8:17 PM on February 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


When asking "who gets to be a feminist", it really seems less about equality and more about controlling other people.

Obviously, all amazingly awesome people get to be feminist -- and it is an open invitation to everyone...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:20 PM on February 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


Is RG really a feminist?

He sure sounds like one here.
posted by kagredon at 8:21 PM on February 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


*sound of car door slamming*

*running footsteps approaching*

*flings door open*

"I heard...*pant, pant*...someone say...*gasp, wheeze*...something about Ryan Gosling's rippling abs and baby blues?"

*collapses on couch, beckons for a mojito*

"Go on..."
posted by darkstar at 8:45 PM on February 19, 2015 [41 favorites]


I hear the strongest male aupporters of feminism are men raised by single women. Since I don't watch TV and so forth, what some young, buff, child movie star, whippersnapper says about feminism seems far away from my reality. I think there should be a strong, mutually respectful human movement, bi-directional affirmative, etc. But when it sounds like feminism is something off the shopping network, endorsed by paid advertisers, backed up by mister mac, before it is thinkable, then I just sigh, and head quietly into the twilight.

Damn those women were brave, all of them that kicked against the pricks, and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Time and again feminine grace and strength rises from the chattel of pathetic conquering empire builders, and gives us life, nurtures and sustains us anyway, and with fortitude, pours out plentitude, poesy, music and thought, and then puts it in gear heading out of yet more wreckage. Ryan Gosling the feminist, yeah.
posted by Oyéah at 8:53 PM on February 19, 2015


Feminism is not a club with membership jackets. Why is this still an issue for people? My patience for that woe is me crap is about over.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:54 PM on February 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


I hear the strongest male aupporters of feminism are men raised by single women.

Which Gosling is, interestingly enough!

Since I don't watch TV and so forth, what some young, buff, child movie star, whippersnapper says about feminism seems far away from my reality. I think there should be a strong, mutually respectful human movement, bi-directional affirmative, etc. But when it sounds like feminism is something off the shopping network, endorsed by paid advertisers, backed up by mister mac, before it is thinkable, then I just sigh, and head quietly into the twilight.

What shopping network are you hearing "The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self." on? (And how are you tuning into it without a TV?) Because I wouldn't mind seeing what they're selling.
posted by kagredon at 8:56 PM on February 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


Oyeah:I hear the strongest male aupporters of feminism are men raised by single women. Since I don't watch TV and so forth, what some young, buff, child movie star, whippersnapper says about feminism seems far away from my reality. I think there should be a strong, mutually respectful human movement, bi-directional affirmative, etc. But when it sounds like feminism is something off the shopping network, endorsed by paid advertisers, backed up by mister mac, before it is thinkable, then I just sigh, and head quietly into the twilight.

It must be hard to see something that started grassroots go mainstream, but it's ultimately a sign that things are headed in the right direction. Why shouldn't proponents of feminism use all ethical avenues available to them? Its opponents don't have the same hangups.
posted by JauntyFedora at 8:59 PM on February 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


This thread seems like as good a place as any to plug the recent documentary, She's Beautiful when She's Angry.

My partner and I saw it a few weeks ago and both really enjoyed it.

http://www.shesbeautifulwhenshesangry.com
posted by paulcole at 9:00 PM on February 19, 2015


> Ryan Gosling the feminist, yeah.

Why? Because he's male? Or famous? A former child star? These things disqualify one from being a feminist? Or is it that only women can be put on the Feminist Pedestal, because we have all that feminine grace and stuff. Bleh.
posted by rtha at 9:02 PM on February 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


for some other really great "hey girl" memes from the likes of Alex Honnold, Yvon Chouinard, and Edward Abbey, check this out
posted by meows at 9:10 PM on February 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


There is no woe is me here, just incredulity that 45 years has passed since I studied the feminist writers, and equality still is on some horizon. The idea the world and forces inside the US still want to undermine womens' rights is tiring. I don't exactly live in womens' rights city. It is sadly predictable that a handsome male celebrity can sell something that should by all hopes, already be in effect.
posted by Oyéah at 9:22 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


It is sadly predictable that a handsome male celebrity can sell something that should by all hopes, already be in effect.

The Feminist Ryan Gosling meme was created by a woman, though you're right that it's worth reflecting on what it means that people responded so positively to "handsome male celebrity + feminist statement"--and in fact, the FPP link puts forth some interesting ideas in that very vein.
posted by kagredon at 9:33 PM on February 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


I know the meme had me convinced, up until this article informed me that he's another bleeding Canadian.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:35 PM on February 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know the meme had me convinced, up until this article informed me that he's another bleeding Canadian.

Eh, girl.
posted by kagredon at 9:38 PM on February 19, 2015 [65 favorites]


I took a Women's Studies class in university (I'm a man so therefore this makes me an expert, right?)

Anyway, what was interesting to me was the concept of "feminisms", and I also liked the idea of challenging socially constructed meanings and definitions - the epistemological aspect of feminism.

In a way, it's too bad that feminism is called "feminism" because it's a tremendously powerful and transformative way of looking at the world based in fundamental principles of equity and justice.

When I went to school 25 years ago there was a large war in the Department of Political Science at my university, where feminist academics and grad students - typically but not always women - were "frozen" out of tenure-track and research positions.

So a number of faculty and students migrated over to Women's Studies, as if there were a difference between the two disciplines.

Anyway, while I suppose feminism is a label that can be used to include and exclude for me it's something much more than that.
posted by Nevin at 10:27 PM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is no woe is me here, just incredulity that 45 years has passed since I studied the feminist writers, and equality still is on some horizon.

American Civil War ends: 1865. Voting Rights Act: 1965. Ferguson: 2014.

Civil rights struggles take centuries. And like any struggle, the outcome is not certain. One can't simply expect victory because it's the right thing.
posted by happyroach at 10:39 PM on February 19, 2015 [19 favorites]


I hear the strongest male supporters of feminism are men raised by single women.

I grew up in a very conservative, traditional family with a fiercely blue-collar Army Dad and a stay-at-home Mom. I came to feminism much later on, well after college and even after a brief flirtation with libertarianism (a gift-subscription to Reason magazine eventually cured me of it). School and work experiences paved the way for me to understand and support feminism.*

I've been very lucky. I have worked with a lot of strong, smart feminist women who weren't afraid to call male professors on their bullshit, or to point out that some seemingly innocent remark or gesture was in fact condescending and patriarchal. It took me awhile to figure out that they weren't oversensitive "social justice warriors".

It took time, and a fair dose of self-evaluation, to finally consider and accept the notion that perhaps *I* was the over-sensitive one, so eager to protect my privilege.

That is a hard lesson to learn. It takes empathy, and a willingness to be wrong about things. It's really not a fun experience, but at the end of it I felt like St. Paul, as the scales of prejudice fell from my eys: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face"

Feminism is about seeing each other face to face. If a Ryan Gosling beefcake photo and some pithy text can facilitate that, I say BRING ON THE ABS AND LACK OF PUNCTUATION

*And Pratchett, and MetaFilter...oh yeah and my rough-as-hell, chain-smoking gun-toting butch-presenting lesbian great-aunt up in Wyoming
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:54 AM on February 20, 2015 [33 favorites]


Betteridge's law is applicable here.
posted by clarknova at 1:18 AM on February 20, 2015


I have worked with a lot of strong, smart feminist women who weren't afraid to call male professors on their bullshit, or to point out that some seemingly innocent remark or gesture was in fact condescending and patriarchal. It took me awhile to figure out that they weren't oversensitive "social justice warriors".

It took time, and a fair dose of self-evaluation, to finally consider and accept the notion that perhaps *I* was the over-sensitive one, so eager to protect my privilege.


Thanks for this astute reflection, Doleful Creature. It illustrates what a gaslighting term 'over sensitive' is when directed toward women who are actively rejecting the patriarchy.
posted by Kerasia at 1:27 AM on February 20, 2015 [10 favorites]


There is no woe is me here, just incredulity that 45 years has passed since I studied the feminist writers, and equality still is on some horizon.

Imagine how the ghost of Mary Wollstonecraft must feel, or Sineya, the First Slayer.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:28 AM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Slayer Mary Wollstonecraft is a fanfic that should exist.
posted by kagredon at 2:29 AM on February 20, 2015 [21 favorites]


There is no woe is me here, just incredulity that 45 years has passed since I studied the feminist writers, and equality still is on some horizon.

Feminism had hundreds of years of history before whatever writers you were reading in the 70s. If you want to be exasperated at how long this is all taking, it seems arbitrary and weird to suggest that it should obviously have been fixed since you started reading feminism, geez.
posted by Dysk at 3:07 AM on February 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


it seems arbitrary and weird to suggest that it should obviously have been fixed since you started reading feminism, geez

But memes, dude, we're using funny memes now!
posted by Segundus at 5:52 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


A Canadian named "gosling" is just asking for a joke about Canada geese, but I don't think I can tie it to feminism. Anybody got any ideas?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:03 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hear the strongest male aupporters of feminism are men raised by single women.

Cite? This seems like an idea with a great many moving parts...
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:25 AM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


it seems arbitrary and weird to suggest that it should obviously have been fixed since you started reading feminism, geez

I dunno, that's how we inevitably measure most things, in a gut way, isn't it? Apart from anything else, it enables telling (and depressing) comparisons – like comparing social progress of this kind to, say, the mindboggling rate of technological progress over the course of the lifetime of an adult living today…
posted by oliverburkeman at 6:29 AM on February 20, 2015


Not enough Ryan Gosling in this thread.

While I love the speech on MPAA ratings, they are trying to sell their movie. Gosling has been asked a few times what he thinks of the meme and he always looks a little baffled but is clearly amused and not bothered. I don't know about this study but I do think that there is something startlingly effective about the meme. It walks a fine line between the silly and serious that ends up somehow not mocking feminist themes or Ryan Gosling. It's impressive.
posted by amanda at 6:52 AM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I know the meme had me convinced, up until this article informed me that he's another bleeding Canadian.

There is no such thing as bleeding Canadians. Only Bandaged Canadians. We all have health care.
posted by srboisvert at 7:32 AM on February 20, 2015 [16 favorites]


I do get frustrated at the slowness of feminism's success. I mean, just start talking about abortion, that will plunge you into the dark depths of what we (as a society) still think of women (possessions that exist for men's pleasure and to pop out babies, and which need to be kept in line, mostly).

But "feminist" is less and less a word you can't use to describe yourself, and when I was in high school/college you never called yourself that without being teased. Most girls trying to make feminist statements would have to say "Now I'm not a feminist, but..." And that still happens, but now Beyoncé has put her star power behind the word. And we have silly memes that support feminism. And actresses have started to ask, loudly, why interviewers ask them about their figures but ask male colleagues about acting. And little girls get viral Youtube videos when they go to the toy store and say they are sick of nothing but pink.

I mean, yes: it's quite possible the Supreme Court could make a ruling on abortion that sets us back to near the pre-Roe era. I worry about that, with this court! But at the same time, women, especially young women, are saying "I am sick of this shit," and saying it loudly.

And I think the internet has a lot to do with that, with its ability to amplify and connect, something feminism desperately needed.

We are fighting several thousand years of inequality, here (depending on which history you are talking about). The fear and hatred of women is woven deep. Digging it out is going to be a long task.

But every advance makes it go a little faster.
posted by emjaybee at 7:35 AM on February 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


What I should have added is, if you think pop culture is meaningless and has no effect, consider how quickly tyrannical regimes crack down on it when it promotes anything they disagree with or questions them in any way. If it really didn't add something to the process of change, if it didn't pose even a small threat, then dictators wouldn't worry about it as much as they do.
posted by emjaybee at 7:37 AM on February 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


Feminist Ryan Gosling is much like Film Critic Hulk. If you are trying to persuade somebody of something, then there is often a lot to be said for intentionally adopting a set of disarming techniques. It probably also helps that FRG is a positive figure - not just in the sense that he's likable, but in the sense that the figure *is* a feminist, as opposed to merely *not being* a non-feminist. "This hot but likable and approachable actor expresses good opinions, be like this guy." The meme wouldn't work as well on men it reaches if it was too serious, or if the picture figure was somebody unknown to, or disliked by, those men, or if the picture was just a mocking picture of a douchey guy expressing douchey opinions. (Not that that last one couldn't work in other circumstances, depending.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:39 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


A Canadian named "gosling" is just asking for a joke about Canada geese, but I don't think I can tie it to feminism. Anybody got any ideas?

When it comes to feminism, what's sauce for the Gosling is sauce for the gander?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:14 AM on February 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


Anyway, while I suppose feminism is a label that can be used to include and exclude for me it's something much more than that.

When you're using the "-ism" suffix, it's not a label, it's a philosophy, so only you can include or exclude yourself from it. "Feminist" could be a label, but you also get to have it by self-identifying. I don't think it's possible for someone else to decide who isn't and who is a feminist, though it's possible to discuss whether a given action or stance contributes to or detracts from the basic and most widely shared goals of feminism, the goals of equality of access to power, respect, and resources regardless of gender.
posted by Miko at 9:36 AM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am just so sick of feminism needing to be presented by men and with gentle humor to get taken seriously. I understand that it appears to be somewhat necessary, but I am sick of it. I am sick of men getting to say things that would cause a firestorm to descend upon me should I say them. I'm sick of things needing to be packaged as cute and funny when it's hurtful and serious. I'm so sick of this being an effective strategy. It's exhausting.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:49 AM on February 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


The only thing I know about Ryan Gosling is that when he was nominated for an Oscar he took his mom and his sister along to the event, which I think is really classy. Not your average Hollywood dude.
posted by ovvl at 10:59 AM on February 20, 2015


i would love it if he would read some of these like he did with hey girl (but, you know, actually prepared or something).
posted by nadawi at 11:47 AM on February 20, 2015


I never thought this meme was about gently making feminism palatable to men. I thought it was about women saying to other women "god, wouldn't it be awesome if hot men talked like this all the time?"

And, I mean. Yes. It would. So what's the problem here again?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:07 PM on February 20, 2015 [16 favorites]


You don't have to have a problem with it, and I am mostly in favor of this meme and enjoy it when I encounter it. I am also really sick of having to put a man's face on feminism.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:08 PM on February 20, 2015


Feminist Hulk has their own take on the subject.
posted by Coaticass at 5:52 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Because I wouldn't mind seeing what they're selling."

It's mostly Betty Friedan snuggies and Third Wave swimsuits.
posted by klangklangston at 5:25 PM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


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