Lewis’s Law

‘Way too many sites tolerate, maybe even feed, really vile forms of misogyny – from Twitter to a lot of supposedly progressive news sites – because it’s all about getting the clicks or traffic that convince advertisers to give them money. Hate is profitable. And human beings are chameleons; I think that some of these sites, groups, spaces, threads, don’t just give misogyny an outlet; they breed and feed and cultivate misogyny…

‘The other thing is: these haters seem to be pretty irony-deficient. Helen Lewis created Lewis’s Law on Twitter in 2012: “Comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.” You go to #YesAllWomen on Twitter and see so many guys now showing up to mock, sneer, harass, and threaten, to just try to piss on the party, and you realize they have no idea they’re demonstrating why we need feminism. We need it because some men hate women; want to violate and silence and annihilate us; can’t stand us telling our truths; don’t think we have any rights; think they’re more important and sole holders of the truth. And they are those men. It’s a parade of excellent specimens. Unfortunately.’

Rebecca Solnit interviewed on The Guardian

10 thoughts on “Lewis’s Law

  1. I have encountered quite a few young men online who honestly believe the stuff they read on misogynist websites, and don’t realise it is biased.  They don’t have IRL experience to counter, for example, the statement (common on PUA sites) that women do not desire men sexually, ever,, and are instead aroused by power, money, and social status.  Bizarre, but true.


  2. I always felt that feminism was worthwhile but unfortunately I have never felt engaged, not enough. Encountering this kind of insulting misognyny makes me want to engage, and push back wherever I encounter something like this IRL. A lot of the time I don’t. When I do it is young men who flock together, for protection of safety in numbers presumably?!

    I speculate that a lot of online misogyny is out and out fear. Fear of a world that is changing and becoming more female oriented – with an emphasis of working together rather than competing, where adaptability and flexibility are desired qualities. I think a lot of those fearful males are insecure about themselves and where they fit into a changing world.

    I could be wrong. And there surely is a minority of men who want to dominate others, women in particular, in an aggressive way. Shame on the media that feeds that sort of behaviour. Not okay at all.


  3. Jane Rakali Well, that’s just the first rule of MRA club: ‘Don’t talk about MRA club’. Somehow, the only young men on the interweb who have never heard of MRA/PUA are the ones who recite its precepts like automata.

    Giselle Frank Yes, of course it is fear.


  4. Jane Rakali The MRA dogma is vicious and it’s really picked up steam online thanks to relative safety of anonymous/semi- anonymous comments that help to “normalise” these sentiments to disenfranchised young men.


  5. The Other Sociologist  Not to mention the MRA forums themselves that pander to narcissistic misogynists. They’re the root of a lot of the lies and false “research” that later enters mainstream discussion without anyone fact checking because it tickles their feeling of being hard done by. Elliot Roger being a prime example.


  6. Is it fear or is it privilege? This reminds me a bit of when some gay friends were saying that straight men fear gays because they don’t want to be treated the same way they treat women.


  7. It’s fear of losing privilege, and fear that they never deserved the privilege in the first place.

    PUA/MRA types have a lot of other beliefs in common, besides the misogynist ones.  For example, one of their lines is, ‘All human relationships have one person who is dominant and one who is submissive.’  So, of course, they see social justice movements as an attempt to take something valuable from them.

    The current target market of PUA is young men with social disabilities — high functioning autism and the like.  They present themselves as offering the truth, clearly explained, about the mystifying world of human interactions.  Including, but not limited to, how to get laid.  There is clearly a huge need for this, and no one else is meeting it in a way that works for these guys.

    (Slightly edited for clarity.)


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