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Raised Mormon, Ryan Gosling keeps on saving, even feminists

On April 3, 2012, London-based feminist and writer who didn’t seem thrilled to be cast as Gosling’s leading lady, Laurie Penney, sent the “tweet heard around the world of Ryan Gosling fans” announcing the actor had saved her from a moving vehicle. The incident occurred at Manhattan’s 6th Avenue and Penney tweeted, “I literally, LITERALLY just got saved from a car by Ryan Gosling. Literally. That actually just happened.” She followed the tweet with a second, “I was crossing 6th avenue in a new pink wig. Not looking the right way because I am from London. Ryan Gosling grabbed me away from a taxi.”

Actor Ryan Gosling attends the Premiere of Columbia Pictures' 'The Ides Of March' held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Samuel Goldwyn Theatre on September 27, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

For the next day, Penney would be dodging phone requests for media interviews, answering tweets, setting the record state, and pointing out that America has more pressing issues at hand than the lifesaving skills of Ryan Gosling. Tweets culminated in articles written for Gawker and The Independent, two of several publications Penney writes for. We understand Penney’s surprise that the event has escalated to newsworthy status, but there are several reasons for the fascination. This is not the first time Gosling made news for his lifesaving ways.

In 2011, Ryan Gosling was videotaped in the streets of New York breaking up a fight. Click the video player to the left for footage from the incident, and to hear the response of the cameraperson when she realized it was Gosling who intervened. Though Gosling is getting credit for breaking up a public fight and saving a feminist from being run over in the streets of New York, there was a time when things were more troublesome for the actor.

Born on November 12, 1980 Ryan Gosling was raised a Mormon, by a self-admitted, religious zealot in a very strict house. He has described his childhood experiences as being a loner, and suffering at the hands of bullies. He once brought knives to school in an event that led to a suspension and homeschooling. The Sun quotes Ryan Gosling as saying in an interview, "When I first saw Rambo, that movie put a kind of spell on me and I actually thought I WAS Rambo. So much so, that one day, I took a bunch of steak knives to school and threw them around at recess time because I thought we were in the movie.”

Speaking of his mother and Mormon upbringing, Ryan Gosling once told Gaby Wood of the The Guardian(UK) outlet The Observer, “We were brought up pretty religious. My mother admits it: She says, you were raised by a religious zealot. She's different now, but at the time, it was a part of everything - what they ate, how they thought ... “Wood continued to state, “At school he was bullied. He'd fight with people all the time, never pay attention in class; before long, his nickname was 'trouble'.”

With all the good work Gosling has been recognized for, trouble seems to be one adjective least likely to be applied. Maybe Gosling and Penney were destined to meet, after all, the two are both activists and Gosling previously visited Congo to witness the ravages of war firsthand. Gosling didn’t seem thrilled to be in the spotlight for breaking up the fight in 2011 and he’s laying low over this incident as well, though public demand to hear from Gosling is always great.

As Penney wrote in her Gawker piece, “Americans are very strange. They can and do hyperventilate about the most everyday happenings as if they are the most important thing in the world, and then they act completely normal when public conversations are had about war on Iran and war on women's bodies, and when Rick Santorum is considered a serious presidential candidate.

“The real heroes I've met in America are risking everything to make sure that the United States doesn't slide further into bigotry, inequality, and violence whilst everyone is distracted by the everyday doings of celebrities. 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.

As for the account, Ryan Gosling’s camp has yet to release an official comment, prompting many to believe its sincerity and crediting Gosling with a good dose of humility for not wanting to be in the spotlight over the incident.

Maybe the Mormon-raised actor and feminist journalist have something in common.


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