Ryan Gosling, Feminist Scholar

We didn’t think we could love Ryan Thomas Gosling more than we already do here at the Ms. Blog. He’s so talented, so darn good-looking, so noble–and so willing to call out the patriarchy! I mean, the guy is quoted as saying,

It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self.

What’s not to love? But now we have yet another reason to heart Ryan: He’s talking feminist theory, and in the most romantic way possible. Consider this quote from Feminist Ryan Gosling:

Hey girl,

My perfect Saturday is a hot cup of tea at sunrise, a trip to the Farmer’s Market, and curling up on the couch to figure out bell hooks’ theory that feminism is a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture with you.

Sweet! At another moment, Ryan’s thinking about marriage:

Hey girl,

Sometimes I think about Foucault‘s theory of marriage as a governmentally developed tool that interferes with the appropriation of land rights, normalizes heterosexuality and subjugates a woman’s sexuality and it makes me want to cry with you.

Ryan even realizes that some feminists resent being addressed by a pet name that somehow infantilizes them, as in this post:

Hey girl,

I mean …. WOMAN.

And here’s Ryan’s most recent post:

OK, maybe it’s dawned on you that this Ryan Gosling is just an internet meme, not the real dude, and maybe you even know that it was inspired by a previous internet meme called Fuck Yeah!Ryan Gosling. In fact, Feminist Ryan Gosling is sort of a cross between Feminist Hulk and Feminist Bieber, but he’s got more cyberspace to make his point because he’s on the less-micro microblog Tumblr rather than on 140-characters Twitter. We’re not even surprised to find out that Feminist Ryan Gosling is a female woman’s studies grad student who’s all about intersectionality (you’re so cool, Danielle Henderson!).

It all sounds like a lot of internet silliness until we realize that we may be learning something from these imagined feminist men (well, Ryan’s a real feminist, considering his actual quote at the top of this piece, ). Read a tweet from Hulk about Judith Butler or a tumblr post from Gosling on Luce Irigaray and suddenly you want to check out these theorists yourself and learn more. A lot of this theory has been locked up in the academy too long; our internet meme-meisters are bringing it down from the tower and onto our Facebook pages.

I, for one, really appreciate it. As an old-school Second Waver, I’ve been wanting for some time to catch up on my feminist theory, but I’ve fallen behind. I like knowing that the young women behind the masks of Hulk and Gosling are taking their smarts to the cyber-street, and whetting people’s appetites for some heady reading.

In fact, I look forward to seeing what theorists Feminist Ryan Gosling tackles next. Hey boy, how about Hélène Cixous? After all, she often writes about love.

Any ideas for feminist theorists that Feminist Ryan Gosling–or the rest of us–should be reading? Any favorite essays to recommend?

Photo of Ryan Gosling from Flickr user friskytuna under license from Creative Commons 2.0. Image from Feminist Ryan Gosling courtesy of Danielle Henderson.


  1. this is awesome.

  2. I heart Danielle!

  3. As an Ambassador of The Turned-On Women’s Movement at One Taste in San Francisco, Ryan Gossling encapsulates the qualities of a Mindful Man. As a Women’s Studies Grad….I appreciate him much more now. I hope he continues to chose roles that allow him the freedom to express his passion and perspective. I look foward to hearing from Ryan and any other men and women that would like to be an ambassador of The Turned-On Women’s Movement where we are currently dismantling misogyny in our sex and embracing mutual pleasure via Orgasmic Meditiation {OM}.

  4. this is nothing but a blatant rip-off of fyryangosling…how original.

  5. Hilarious! So glad you wrote about this. I was wondering how her renderings of feminist theory could be so spot on – makes sense that she’s a student of it!

  6. i love, love feminist ryan gosling–it made me giggle so very much! i’m glad to discover who is behind it. she looks like someone i’d totally chill with!

  7. What a great conversation! I love it, love it.

  8. Sarah Humeston says:

    Hey there! I must say that it is great to see an icon such as Ryan Gosling stand up and call out the misogynistic media!! Thank you! Also I have to suggest a book of essays that changed my life, its titled, ‘Transforming a Rape Culture.’ One of my favorite essays within is by Terrance Crowley called, ‘A Lie of Entitlement.’ If you haven’t checked out Alice Walker’s, ‘Possessing the Secret of Joy’, I suggest it as well!!! Enjoy!!

  9. Where’s the Like button?

  10. “I must say that it is great to see an icon such as Ryan Gosling stand up and call out the misogynistic media!!”

    Please check out his movie ‘Drive,’ and pay attention to the roles of women and people of color, as well as the portrayal of the male hero and its version of ‘masculinity’. He is not calling out misogynistic media. He is participating in it.

    • Were there people of color in Drive?

    • Yes, ‘Drive’ is not exactly a movie which liberates the genders, but heya, I’m glad it gives us substance to talk about. I would not rush to call Gosling a feminist, certainly given that he has never referred to himself as one, but his comment about misogynist media stems from a decision to age rate ‘Blue Valentine’ higher than other similar films merely because a woman was being given oral sex as opposed to a man. Art, and yes shallow Hollywood is a part of it, is art – it’s expression of human conditions, and if patriarchy is one, it is no surprise that films are made to reflect it (whilst, personally, I don’t need to agree with it). Whether Ryan called the media misogynistic to be able to lower the age rating for his film to reach a bigger audience, or if he genuinly felt that their decision was wrong and gendered, I feel it is a good thing he confronted them as the danger here is authority directly telling us what we can or can’t do, or watch, because of gender bias.

  11. The Ryan Gosling meme has been making its way around Pinterest and I applaud the creative folks who put the words in Ryan’s mouth! It appears that Ryan’s been good-natured about it overall. Knowyourmeme.com is a great place for the history of memes. He’s an actor. I love seeing new ones – they vary in how well done they are – and I especially loved the one where he’s telling librarians that he’d never dog-ear their pages.

    Another meme is Gene Wilder dressed as Willy Wonka, making comments such as “Oh, you wear a North Face jacket? You must go on so many adventures!” Snark-hilarity.

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