Hey girl. We all remember the Ryan Gosling feminist meme a.ka. The Greatest Meme Ever Except For All the Memes Featuring Babies and Animals. It looked something like this.
Ryan, feel free to talk feminism to us ALL NIGHT LONG.
We will forever be grateful to Danielle Henderson for creating this god among memes. And, as it turns out, these memes aren’t just fangirl fun for feminists, they also make men much more likely to be gender equality allies.
Based on the meme, the Canadian National Post reported that the University Of Saskatchewan conducted research in which they divided undergraduates into two groups. One group was shown Feminist Meme Ryan Gosling and the other group was just shown images of Gosling without the feminist messages. The participants then answered a questionnaire regarding their feelings about gender equality. Female participants’ feminism remained unchanged but Feminist Ryan Gosling caused a 10% increase in male participant’s feminism.
I mean, yeah, a 100% increase would have been the ideal, but 10% is something. That’s 10 new dudes who believe in gender equality out of 100, or 100 guys that become feminist allies out of a 1,000. It’s not the dream percentage, but it is a positive number.
So how is Feminist Ryan Gosling able to work his gender equality magic?
“We don’t know what it was about him that they liked so much,” co-researcher Linzi Williamson, a PhD student with the university’s applied social psychology program, explained. “It could have been they just really admired him or they think he’s a cool dude.”
“He’s viewed as sexual competition, so he becomes someone to live up to,” reasoned the study’s co-coordinator Sarah Sangster, also a University of Saskatchewan PhD student.
Whatever the reason, it’s good news for memes and it’s good news for gender equality. As Sangster explained:
“What our research says is that we shouldn’t quickly dismiss pop culture phenomena, and realize that there is potential to use it as a persuasive device.” Amen.