From Beyonce’s amazing performance to GamerGate, a discussion surrounding feminism seemed to be in the news every week in 2014. While many important discussions were had that helped develop current feminism, a lot of people also became more outspoken against feminism and those trying to achieve equality. It is generally understood by many feminists that you should never read the comments on an online article or Youtube video because they are filled with hate speeches from people who do not agree with feminism.
Because of the consistency of this phenomenon, there was a feminist rule of thumb that was created called Lewis’ Law. This law is based off a tweet from Helen Lewis in August 2012, where she stated that “comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.” Basically, when an article is published that talks about feminism, or even about a woman who is succeeding, there will always be comments that degrade her, try to start arguments, and generally prove that feminism is still needed in our society. Responses include “Feminists… get a grip. You are unintentionally cartooning women. No misogynist has done a better job of lampooning women then you just have,” “’feminism’ is just a synonym for hatred for men – especially white men”, and “American feminism, which has gone insane/into naval [sic] gazing”, which were the main comments on a single article written by Jessica Valenti.
In the comments of my FEM articles and on posts I’ve made on my blog I’ve been called a “faggot”, “cunt”, an “idiot”, and told I’m being “dumb.” I’ve also been threatened with physical violence and said that I will get my ass beat by a man because I speak up. It’s not just with me, unfortunately. Lewis’ Law is in action throughout FEM articles, along with sites containing articles that are actually talking about Lewis’ law.
Ironically, while Lewis’ law is a great tool for analyzing comments, the woman who created the law is not a great feminist herself. She defends Caitlain Moran (and her use of tr*nny, among other insulting, transphobic things), making fun of ableism and people trying to be inclusive with their language, and not supporting intersectionality, among many other issues.
When have you seen Lewis’ Law in action?