Ryan Gosling has got your back and other feminist critiques

This post originally appeared at ihollaback.org

BY CATHERINE FAVORITE

Ryan Gosling knows what bystander intervention is all about. Earlier this week, the actor much celebrated for his mind and acting talents stepped in when he saw a woman about to get hit by a taxi cab. In New York City, it can be all too easy to dismiss strangers in need of help, but this story serves as a nice reminder and example of how to behave like a decent human being from time to time.

The woman Gosling stopped right before she stepped into oncoming traffic, just so happened to be British journalist, Laurie Penny, who made a fantastic point on the celebrity-obsessed frenzy that followed:

“What’s more, I really do object to being framed as the ditzy damsel in distress in this story. I do not mean any disrespect to Ryan Gosling, who is an excellent actor and, by all accounts, a personable and decent chap. I thought he was marvelous in The Ides of March, and will feel weird about objectifying him in future now that I have encountered him briefly as an actual human.

But as a feminist, a writer, and a gentlewoman of fortune, I refuse to be cast in any sort of boring supporting female role, even though I have occasional trouble crossing the road, and even though I did swoon the teeniest tiniest bit when I realized it was him. I think that’s lazy storytelling, and I’m sure Ryan Gosling would agree with me.”

For this, we fully support Laurie Penny’s point on not portraying women as damsels in distress; the dangers of objectifying anyone (though we still enjoy the occasional Feminist Ryan Gosling meme); and the realization that it should not be a major headline anytime a person helps out a stranger. Bystander intervention is for everyone, if you see someone who looks like they are being harassed by a stranger, or about to get hit by a taxi, don’t just stand there!

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