Paul Ryan Shirtless: How 3 Libertarian Ladies Turned Paul Ryan Into the Ryan Gosling of Politics


Back in April, when 30-year-old Emily Zanotti and her friends Lyndsey Fifield and Lindsey Dodge saw a New York Times story about Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan -- and his catfish noodling hobby; they wondered, "What does he look like...shirtless."

It was then when the self-professed libertarian-leaning gals decided to start the Tumblr blog "Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan" -- not to be confused with “Paul Ryan Gosling,” which inspired in the Tumblr “F*ck Yeah Ryan Gosling” depicts chauvinist Ryan who serenades girls who are “too pretty to go to college” while pushing their grandmas off cliffs.

“Hey Girl, It’s Paul Ryan,” which became popular last May, is a somewhat positive depiction of the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, as it associates him with popular Canadian actor Ryan Gosling. The Tumblr posts photos of Ryan with memes such as, "Hey girl, unlike the debt our love will never hit the ceiling," and "Hey girl, let's get fiscal."

"I was shocked, I was shocked, I think it's a good choice, but it still kind of hasn't sunk in that this guy we were kind of messing around with about three months ago is suddenly the vice presidential nominee," Zanotti said about Romney's surprising pick of the Wisconsin congressman as his VP.

Regardless of their political leaning, Zanotti says they tried to make the Tumlbr "funny for everyone."She adds, "I think one of our big goals was to not be partisan when we first started it, to make it just funny and if we had the opportunity to sneak in some libertarian financial policy, that would be great." 

Though "Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan" has gotten a little more political since its original founders left,  and Romney picked Ryan, the blog presents both risk and opportunity for the Republican ticket.

On one hand, the numerous Paul Ryan memes proliferating on the internet and social media could help define the GOP VP as a chauvinistic figure (which would reinforce the GOP's supposed "Anti Women" stance).  

But on the other hand, the GOP ticket could take advantage of Ryan's popularity in social media to connect with an increasingly critical constituency -- younger voters. And, judging by a recent poll that found Romney gaining ground among this demographic, it seems to be an opportunity worth exploring -- one meme at a time.