Ryan Gosling baby drama: Why is Eva the enemy?

Meryll Yan

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Ryan Gosling baby drama: Why is Eva the enemy?
From 'The Notebook' to the Burn Book. What do the online reactions to Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes’ pregnancy say about women?

It has been just a few days since reports surfaced that Eva Mendes is pregnant with Ryan Gosling’s baby. The Internet erupted into a frenzy—with fans, mostly women, taking to their social media accounts to rant about or bemoan the baby news.

My formerly diverse feed, occupied by updates on the Indonesian presidential elections, photos of cats, and inspirational Oprah messages, suddenly devolved into an online real-time Mean Girls Burn Book. And a quick scan of the online world at large, to check the public pulse on this baby news, gave me chills.  

Words like “wench,” “holy sperm” and *set everything on fire* were casually thrown around to describe mother-to-be Mendes, Gosling and the sender, respectively. While there were a few well-wishers, the more recurring sentiments were those of exaggerated rage and envy:

“It’s on the line of creepy and embarrassing how pissed I am about Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes.” 

“Another Hollywood actress who has to resort to trapping a man with a pregnancy.” 

“I hate Eva Mendes. How dare she trap Ryan like that.” 

“Ryan Gosling shared his holy sperm with Eva Mendes, not even Rachel Mcadams.. #worstdayever”? 

 “Ryan Gosling knocked up some wench…”

“Congrats to Eva Mendes on her pregnancy and by congrats I mean I hate you”

Popular host Ellen DeGeneres sent out a positive message, saying: “Congrats to @RyanGosling and @EvaMendes! That’s going to be the most beautiful, bilingual, part-superhero, well-dressed, romantic baby ever.”

But that was quickly drowned by weepy “Life is pointless. Romance is dead. There is no hope for any of us” messages that were retweeted over and over. A fashion website even joined the hate bandwagon, creating an acid-fueled and out-of-context critique of Mendes and several of her outfits.

And while it can all be seen in jest, that women’s hearts everywhere were broken by the end of a matinee idol fantasy, the bigger understatement is how anti-Eva comments are actually anti-women. 

Online witch hunt

We all have alternate lives in social media. Here we profess our darkest thoughts, we share our victories and hard-learned words of wisdom, we publish photos of our food and our friends. It has become such an indispensable part of our modern human experience that we forget how powerful it can be. 

 The use of words like “knocked up” to describe someone who has been in a three-year relationship reveals that a double standard prevails and it is always the woman at fault. One commenter said, “Pathetic. 40 years old and not using birth control.” While it is not stoning in a religious sense, it does become a virtual equivalent. One doesn’t even have to go to the town square, and can just go online, write a snarky comment or tweet about wishing Mendes’ doom. 

That a woman would use the phrase “holy sperm” sends us back in time and in progress. And not because of the word “holy.” It unnecessarily puts a man in a pedestal, even though he didn’t ask for it, and also makes women seem like mere receptacles or bearers of their “blessing.”

The bigger picture

While women have made great strides in the workplace and in government, sexism still exists. And the worse part is when it is perpetrated by women themselves. 

 “I hate Eva Mendes so much ugh bitch” is sexist. And it is not just a crime against Eva Mendes. It is a crime against all women. 

 “I’m going to cry under my desk with a bag of Cheetos” seems cute enough now. But what does it reveal about us? 

One comment said, “Jeez gossip bloggers, what did Eva Mendes do to you to make you hate her so much? Oh, she did your imaginary boyfriend.”

While it may seem like a stretch right now, what we project eventually leads to how we are treated. Without realizing it, these comments frame women as what sexists envision us to be: unthinking, impulsive, highly emotional and hormonal. What now seems like a collection of involuntary, heartbroken reflexes eventually becomes a trend, eventually creating a perception and becoming reality. 

If we keep up this lamentation, we show that women are incapable of distinguishing fact from fiction. That women cannot move past The Notebook. That we can be so obsessed with a celebrity that we would launch weapons of character destruction on one of our own. 

Now that we have such easy access to publish our self-incriminating thoughts, everything we say can and will be used against us. While it’s okay to harbor dreams of a guy like Gosling, to campaign against one woman and send her hate only serves to undo the efforts that have been made to raise women up. Those equal seats in the boardroom drift further into the realm of dreams should potential leaders read the ineloquent tweets of women against one.

This frenzy has succeeded in showing an ugly truth: how we can become the very limitations to our own success. Or a greater evil: how women can sometimes be the own worst enemies of women. In her 2006 speech to an audience of WNBA players, the first female US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, as both life lesson and warning, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” 

Eva Mendes is not the enemy. You are. – Rappler.com

Meryll Yan is a woman of many careers. She started out as a multi-awarded campus journalist, worked as a brand manager in retail, then made the big leap to media to steer MEGA Magazine and its turnaround. After a brief but fruitful stint in banking, Meryll is back and is officially a Rappler.    

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