top of page

Hey Girl...the Homeschool Ryan Gosling Meme Revisited (part 2 of a meme series)

He's super interested in talking about homeschool approaches and curriculum with rapt attention, all through the night, if need be!

Last month I wrote about the amazing power of homeschool memes to give us empathy and to validate our experiences. This leads me deeper down this rabbit hole, towards one specific homeschool meme that has given me much empathy, joy, validation and caused a few major laugh attacks. The Hey Girl, Homeschool Ryan Gosling meme. I have been wanting to document my fondness for this awesome homeschool meme for a while now. . It's not who Ryan Gosling is as much as it's about what the meme says about homeschooling moms.


He's all in with homeschooling!

I love nearly every variation of the Homeschool Ryan Gosling meme, because, well, firstly, it makes it ok to be a homeschool mom who is still a woman (Ryan Gosling is attractive, no denying that). Secondly -- and most importantly-- this meme highlights lifestyle differences of homeschoolers in the most hilarious ways (these memes were created by homeschool moms, after all!). The funniest memes showcase the kinds of quirky things that blossom along a homeschool mom's journey. And Ryan Gosling is the doting, faithful homeschool father and husband who tries his hardest to appreciate all of these homeschool quirks, even when they are a bit challenging to accommodate or understand.


What's the story with this homeschool meme?

How did this meme get started in the first place, you might ask? The internet can be a strange and mysterious place, folks, that's all I can really say. But the story I've always known is that before Ryan Gosling became the star of dozens of steamy and hilarious homeschool memes, he was the center of a boyfriend fantasy meme based on the sensitive masculinity of the characters he portrayed onscreen and his humble, modest public media presence. A famous (but now defunct) Tumbler fan blog published juicy memes that consisted of steamy pictures of Ryan Gosling that started with the words, "Hey Girl...", and finished with whatever the fan imagined Ryan Gosling would say as a boyfriend. How would he treat you, what would he say to you personally, how would he fulfill your fantasy?

(Pictured above: Hey Girl, feel his sweater, it's made of 100% Boyfriend Material.)


Hey Girl... insert text of your fantasy of a boyfriend + a pic of Ryan Gosling + the words Hey Girl. into a meme generator!

This original Hey Girl Ryan Gosling boyfriend meme went viral approximately between 2008-2010. Its internet popularity spawned various new meme subgenres and continued to grow in popularity after Ryan Gosling read some of the texts of the original memes on MTV in 2010. In 2012 the Feminist Ryan Gosling blogger, Danielle Henderson published a book titled, "Feminist Ryan Gosling: Feminist Theory (as Imagined) from Your Favorite Sensitive Movie Dude.".Various talk show interviews with Ryan Gosling, from 2014-2016, continued to reference this meme and he explained his discovery of it and his reaction to it on the Ellen Show, and for promotion of his movie Nice Guys with Russell Crowe in 2016.


Other Hey Girl Ryan Gosling meme genres include:

Shakespearean Ryan Gosling, Teacher Ryan Gosling, Typographer Ryan Gosling, and my favorite meme thread of all, Homeschool Ryan Gosling, where Ryan Gosling is imagined as a homeschool husband and father.

(Pictured above: He's a feminist, and a typographer, too, the subtle differences are important.)


The Birth of the Homeschool Ryan Gosling Meme

The homeschool iteration of this meme began to circulate in my homeschooling social media circles in 2008. The hunky Canadian actor of The Notebook fame blew up the homeschool mom circuit after interviews with him revealed that he had been homeschooled for a year as a child, at age 10, when his mother pulled him out of school due to bullying. He was essentially unschooled during that year, watching movies and listening to really cool jazz music from the 1940s. With that simple revelation, Ryan Gosling, who was already enjoying heavy fangirl status, became a homeschool mom heartthrob.

There was a riotous self-mocking that was enthusiastically exploited by these memes. This made them addicting to view and laugh at. To this day, they bring me tremendous joy. Back in 2008 many of us lived with the social stigma of what was then still considered a fringe thing to do - homeschooling our children. In addition to entering this new, sometimes scary journey, we also had to contend with the all-too-common questions and concerns of well-meaning friends, family, and neighbors. Various other people you never asked or consulted had an opinion they felt free to express in front of your children simply because they found out they were homeschooled.

(Pictured above: It's ok if you seriously offended his boss, he'll just get a new job!)


(Pictured above: Getting upset when strangers ask invasive questions is ok, Girl, he gets it. And he thinks socialization is for the dogs!)


(Pictured above: He supports you telling it straight even if it offends his family.)


(Pictured above: When laminating was a big thing with homeschool moms he was all about it!)


Truth be told, before I had truly hit my stride as a homeschooling and unschooling parent, it was hard enough to manage all of other peoples' baggage about what I was doing with my own children. But who could I relate to about some of my own baggage about what I was doing with my children? I had to keep that part of me partially hidden and quiet and know when it was safe to talk about my concerns, frustrations, and fears, and be particular about whom I could talk with about what. It was my homeschool circles and social media groups that gave me that safe place to discuss our homeschooling challenges and find support.

I had private email and Facebook groups and weekly get-togethers with other moms and we used social media to stay connected through the rest of the week, but even social media wasn't always safe. Plenty of my friends and family were commenting on what we did (or calling my then-husband to complain about what they had seen on my social media feed -- they don't see enough school work and do the kids even know how to read yet??). So, it wasn't a safe place to share how I was finding my homeschool teaching style (or opting not to "teach" and opting to unschool). It wasn't a safe place to express how I was struggling with trying to stay committed to peaceful parenting while my kids were driving me crazy or the ups and downs of trying to balance out homeschooling time with family time and self-time. How could I share the funny moments and crazy moments on my social media feed without it turning into a feeding frenzy for the negative comments from the family I was trying to stay in balance with? How could I wholly be myself when I knew that so many people I knew would not understand our lifestyle?

(Pictured above: The Pioneer Woman blog got in on the meme action in 2012! Whatever the kids do to the garden, it's totally ok since it's in service of learning.)


Use Social Media Wisely & Find your laughing place!

It was during this critical early homeschooling time for me, that I opted to change the way I relate to social media. I have been through some other life challenges along the way (a divorce, and my child transitioning to another gender, for example), that demanded I prioritize the privacy of my family in ways that social media can't possibly allow for.

Rather than using social media as a place of revealing and sharing personal details and information about my and my children's lives, I have shifted to looking for ways to share joy on social media. I'm a part of groups that share jokes, groups that share a view from our rooms, and groups where memes are shared and enjoyed. These activities help us all find common ground and allow us a way to shed off the stress and enjoy the healing power of laughter together, no matter our differences.


(Pictured above: Moms of special needs kids need a little Ryan Gosling too - or a lot of Ryan Gosling!)


There is room enough for everyone to find some laughter & empathy with Ryan Gosling Memes!

Visit these Ryan Gosling Pinterest pages for more clean, meme fun:


This guest post was written by veteran homeschooling parent, Paige McKinney.

Paige McKinney is a mom of 2 grown unschoolers, and 1 nearly grown unschooler who attends a self-directed democratic school. She has over 19 years of experience homeschooling and unschooling in Orange County, California, including working with homeschool groups, educational non-profit organizations, and independent study charter schools. More recently, Paige decided to follow her heart and move her family to Pennsylvania, where she is exploring alternative education, gardening, and painting on the East Coast.


bottom of page