Lewis’s Law

or Lewis' Law

[loo-is-is law]

What does Lewis's Law mean?

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Lewis's Law is an unofficial principle of the Internet that states that the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.

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Examples of Lewis’s Law

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Examples of Lewis’s Law
Amber Heard speaking out about domestic violence is great. Lewis's Law in full effect in the comment section...
@JJC1138, November 2016
And with the release of Hollaback’s video, some men are already arguing that what Roberts experienced wasn’t really harassment - just run-of-the-mill, friendly come-ons. (Others reportedly issued rape threats, once again proving Lewis’s Law.)
Jessica Valenti, The Guardian, October 2014
Know Your Meme

Where does Lewis’s Law come from?

Know Your Meme

On August 9, 2012, British journalist Helen Lewis tweeted that “the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.” She dubbed it Lewis’s Law, after herself. The use of law alludes to a general tendency in internet behavior; other examples include Poe’s Law (“Satirical expressions of extremism online are hard to distinguish from genuine ones without indicating intent”) and Godwin’s Law (“As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”)

Screenshot / @helenlewis / Twitter

By this law, Lewis means that pro-feminist internet content inevitably draws sexist reactions from men. In other words, simply mentioning feminism can provoke hateful, misogynist comments from male trolls….

Lewis’s tweet didn’t gain widespread attention until Wired journalist Alice Marwick mentioned Lewis’s Law in a March 2013 article about feminism and Men’s Rights Activists, who believe feminism is oppressive to men. Later that year, the law was added to Urban Dictionary.

Lewis’s Law would later also be added to other online resources Geek Feminism Wiki and RationalWiki, which lists Lewis’s Law as one example of Internet feminist laws.

Who uses Lewis’s Law?

Lewis’s Law has maintained its currency in discussions of feminism and toxic masculinity online. Because, well, the internet. And men.

On social media sites like YouTube or Twitter, where comments are less heavily moderated, you can easily see Lewis’s Law in action. Case in point: the comments on a 2017 YouTube video of Emma Watson explaining why some men struggle with feminism…

Screenshot / Entertainment Weekly / YouTube

Lewis’s Law has also appeared in feminist books and blogs, but it is most often encountered in social media, where people invoking Lewis’s Law in citing examples of it in action.

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