Ah, yes, Ryan Gosling. How he melted every woman’s heart — young and old alike — when he appeared in The Notebook, back in 2004. You ladies remember that, right? Although I am not at all a fan of the movie (I mean, c’mon!), Ryan Gosling on the other hand, gosh! #FansHerself. It’s funny, because a few years prior to his debut in Hollywood, he used to come on this show called Breaker High, that aired on YTV kids. Yes, YTV KIDS! And I am not ashamed to admit that I would watch that show, religiously, only because I loved Gosling’s super adorable, awkward, and silly/goofy character in it (I was around 13 years old at the time). Back then, he was far from the heartthrob he is now. Who knew, that a few years down the road, his fame and popularity would join the ranks of actors like Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey and the like, eh? He’s gorgeous. He’s an exceptional actor. And best of all, he’s made no secret of the fact that he’s pro-women and pro-gender equality. And that, my dear readers, is a beautiful thing.
What’s even awesomer are the feminist-y memes that were created in his name, entitled, “Hey, girl” (the idea originally created by Danielle Henderson in 2011). I am sure ya’ll have seen them. They have gotten quite popular for the past few years now. And most of the text written on those memes are enough to melt any girl…and guy. It actually gives all the good, single girls hope that handsome, intelligent men who value women and believe in promoting and supporting their rights and freedoms exist.
Anyway, what’s even more amazing about these “Hey, girl” Ryan Gosling memes is that not only are they appealing to young and old women, all over, but they also appeal to men! Appeal in the sense that when men read these memes, it conditions them subconsciously to agree with what is written in the text, hence, changing and influencing their perception/attitudes (and treatment) of women. Isn’t that like so freaking amazing? I mean the meme’s won’t necessarily make men all “feminist-like” and stuff, but it’s enough to influence their thoughts about women and gender equality, and perhaps even improve on it. The best part is that these memes weren’t even intended to do that. The creator of these memes initially created them out of sheer boredom and frustration, when she started graduate school. Yet, the appeal was so great that everyone took to it like bees on honey. And why not? Who wouldn’t be taken with pictures of that gorgeous smile, those puppy-dog eyes, and text that reads, “Hey girl, you look beautiful just the way you are.” Yeaaaaah. #swoon
Though, it’s important to note that Gosling’s “Hey, girl” memes aren’t the first memes that have contributed to the change or improvement in thought patterns about a specific subject or thing. As a matter of fact, it is quite evolutionary; the idea was first brought forth by none other but the infamous Richard Dawkins himself. (Okay, yeah, say all you want about him, but he’s no doubt a brilliant scientist. That is something I won’t deny about him.)
The following is a quote that pretty much sums up this whole meme effect that has taken the internet by storm, over the past few years. The full article can be read here.
Dawkins shortened the word from the Ancient Greek mimete, meaning imitator or pretender. He took Darwin’s focus on genetic expression and translated it into more of an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. Online users may not look at memes through this same evolutionary lens, but Dawkins told Wired we’ve pretty much got it.
‘The meaning is not that far away from the original. It’s anything that goes viral,’ he said. ‘In the original introduction to the word meme in the last chapter of The Selfish Gene, I did actually use the metaphor of a virus. So when anybody talks about something going viral on the Internet, that is exactly what a meme is and it looks as though the word has been appropriated for a subset of that.’ Dawkins added he gets infected by these types of viruses as much as anyone else.
So, Ryan Gosling effect, you say? Why certainly! Looks like his memes will be around for a very, very, very long time. And that, my dear readers, is a really great thing. 🙂
Here are a few of my most favourite “Hey, girl” memes, only because I just couldn’t resist sharing. Enjoy! 😀