Examples of Lewis’s Law
Examples of Lewis’s Law
Where does Lewis’s Law come from?
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”)
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….
— Jonn Elledge (@JonnElledge) October 29, 2015
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.
Lewis' Law in action https://t.co/g359Cz1yos
"All negative comments on feminist threads justify feminism"
Dissent is misogyny https://t.co/uZHKaWpijt
— Paula Wright (@SexyIsntSexist) December 3, 2016
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…
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.
Jesus, the replies to this. Lewis's Law for sure. https://t.co/9wKubH8oad
— William Pietri (@williampietri) July 18, 2017
All the replies to women expressing excitement about Hillary's book demonstrate that Lewis's Law also applies to 140 characters or less.
— RidgewayGirl (@RidgewayGirl01) September 12, 2017