Yet another reason for people to like Ryan Gosling even more.
By now, if you've ever used the internet, you're probably familiar with the feminist Ryan Gosling meme, but just in case you're not, it's basically a picture of Ryan Gosling with some text that references a point from feminism, be it about the pay gap or the roles that society applies to people as a norm.
Started by grad student Danielle Henderson back in 2011, the meme became hugely popular, and produced everything from a tumblr to a proper printed book, which is when you know your internet thing became a proper success. While all that success was obviously nice, perhaps the recent findings that the memes are beneficial to feminism will please Henderson even more as two academics at the University of Saskatchewan have conducted a very interesting study based on her memes.
The study, conducted by Sarah Sangster and Linzi Williamson entitled '"Hey Girl...": The Effect of Ryan Gosling Feminist Memes on Feminist Identification and Endorsement of Feminist Beliefs' was published after the paper was delivered at the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) Annual Conference last year, and showed that exposure to the Ryan Gosling memes meant people were more likely to agree with feminist ideas and statements.
Taking two groups, the particiapnts in the study (69 female, 30 male) were asked to look at a number of pictures, some with the feminist memes and phrases, and others without, and then asked to respond to a questionnaire that included statements such as "the workplace is organised around men’s oppression of women".
The results showed that "the meme group displayed significantly higher endorsement of both socialist feminism...and radical feminism" and while the men of the group didn't show any increase in identifying themselves as feminists, they more readily agreed with the feminist statements "results support hypothesis that exposure to memes increases endorsement of specific feminist beliefs".
There is a caveat in that the sample group was quite small, and Snagster stated as a result that the research doesn't mean that the meme are going to change the world, "but they also have an important effect", even if they appear to be just a pop culture phenomenon.