This past week, I interviewed Danielle Henderson, the woman who runs the Feminist Ryan Gosling blog! She just released her new book Feminist Ryan Gosling: Feminist Theory (as imagined) From Your Favorite Sensitive Movie Dude, which you should buy. She was so cool, I loved her and I’m sure you will, too.
For those who haven’t seen your site or read the book, what is Feminist Ryan Gosling?
“Feminist Ryan Gosling is a series of flashcards I developed using the ‘hey, girl’ meme to help me study feminist theory.”
What inspired you to start FRG?
“I had just started graduate school in September, and my friends and I needed a way to remember all of this stuff without freaking out. I thought it would be fun to combine the two things, and create a site that was both funny and informative.”
From your prospective, what does feminism mean to you?
“Feminism means you fight sexist oppression. It means that you support ideas that advance women, and are vigilant about speaking up when someone tries to use gender as a reason to prevent you from doing what you want to do.”
Who are your inspirations?
“I’m inspired by bold people, and anyone who lives unapologetically. My friends are all completely, unbelievably talented and fabulous people who inspire me on a regular basis. My students are inspiring – I watch them morph and figure out how they’re going to be defined as individuals, and it’s really cool to see them taking big risks to get there. I have unending love for Margaret Cho and Amy Poehler, always.”
What sites are you into?
“I’m only online two (sometimes three) hours a day – one hour for email, and an hour or so for general surfing around – so I have to be picky about what I read. Even before I started writing for them, I loved Rookie Magazine, so I always check in there. I LOVE jigsaw puzzles, so I do a jigsaw puzzle online everyday. I always read The Pen Addict, because I am one, and then a bunch of craft sites to get ideas for sewing or knitting patterns (I like to make my own clothes). I just revealed a LOT of nerdery right there, but when you’re not online a lot you have to be picky about what you want to see. I limit my internet time on purpose – I choose to be productive in other ways.”
Why Ryan Gosling?
“My friends thought he was cute, and the meme was already out there. But it makes sense, too – he’s smart, and really socially conscious.”
Where do you find these pics?
“Google! For the book I went through a few photo sites since we had to purchase the images, but for the site I just go to Google, look for about 10 seconds, and choose an image.”
Do you know if Ryan Gosling is a fan?
“I do not – I haven’t heard from him at all. I hope he likes it a little bit.”
What movie did Ryan Gosling say “Hey, girl” in for the first time?
“I’m not sure he did? I think that was just part of the original meme.”
I want to get back to the f- word. I wish more people understood it’s not a bad word. I can’t believe there are people who don’t think girls and boys are of equal value, which is my definition of it. So what do you think we can do to move people to think this?
“I think we have to be focus on diversity in a specific way, one that is consistently aware of class, race and identity issues. A lot of people don’t identify as feminists because they don’t see themselves reflected in any of the media or discussions surrounding feminism. When you can’t find personal value in something, you are less likely to support it. If there were more diverse voices, more ways for people to access feminist ideals, I think we’d have a larger, more dynamic movement.”