Death of Feminism and Lewis’s Law

So this is kind of a supplemental post to my Damsels in Distress post because for some reason after watching the video from Feminist Frequency and watching some of the responses YouTube decided to recommend some other videos for me. The subject of these videos all touched on the point of feminism being irrelevant, feminism being too extreme now, and why someone chose to not identify as a feminist anymore.

During this same time I also read this amazing post by Laura Hudson on her Tumblr discussing why she feels that it is important to still identify as being a feminist. The interesting thing about her article is the fact that her response partly stems from an article on Salon discussing famous women who do not call themselves a feminist. So after hearing from the various sides I wanted to just put my two cents in.

I Am a Feminist

First, let’s just start this off with the fact that I do call myself a feminist. Personally I think I might have to reject my degree from Scripps College if I don’t call myself a feminist, but it is actually a concept that I believe in. Now some of the discussion has been about the feeling that feminism has changed and I agree it has changed, but some of the problem is that with a lot of movements or beliefs the definition has become somewhat blurred and potentially splintered. According to Wikipedia:

Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.[1][2] This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.

Now, this definition is definitely one that I can get behind. I think the movement has done a lot to get equal rights and opportunities for women over the years. Some of the places that I really see progress needing to be made is in media (books, comics, movies, tv, video games).

Geek Feminism

Let me start by saying (again) I do not believe that pointing out that something might be problematic is saying it is bad, but that maybe we need to question why something is the way it is. As a geek / nerd and a feminist I have noticed that there seems to be a vocal group within the geek / nerd culture who really hate the idea of geek feminism. There seems to be this feeling that the feminists are trying to ruining everything that is fun. At the same time there are way too many examples of geeky women being treated differently or being harassed because they are women. Here is a just a few articles that I have read recently discussing this issue:

In Which I Am Pretty Darn Sure That Most Gamers Are Fine With Female Protagonists

Cosplayers Unite For Anti-Con-Creeper Photo Essay

When Professionals Aren’t: The PAX East Tomb Raider Cosplay Harassment Story

These examples illustrate the problems that women experience in these spaces. It is interesting where people talk about how feminism is not as needed now-a-days and yet you have people creating a game to punch a woman in the face for daring to question gender roles in video games. It is not like any of this stuff is sacred. Some of it does come down to the fact that when we like something we want to defend it. We identify with the things we like and if you are making a comment about that thing then we transfer that comment to ourselves.

In the end though we are not the things we like and we can still like them while recognizing larger issues that might be present. The reason I still call this feminism is because I do feel that the way women are represented in media is problematic. The perfect example of the issue though is Lewis’ Law:



8 responses to “Death of Feminism and Lewis’s Law

  1. If women are reluctant to identify as feminists, that really isn’t their fault, is it?

    Feminism has, by the actions of its most noisy proponents, gained a reputation as cartoonishly militant, anti-male and irrelevant to most women’s lives. Now, obviously it’s possible for feminism to not be like that, but women identify it with its vocal advocates and they don’t like what they see.

    So perhaps it’s time for feminists to engage in a period of self-examination and ask “where have we gone wrong?” and “what can we do to make our movement more appealing to ordinary people?”


    • If someone does not want to call them-self a feminist that is fine. I just wanted to explain the ways that I think the movement is still needed and places where things are problematic. I do not agree that feminism is irrelevant, but it is necessarily different than it was. The problem as I tried to explain is that I think you have the moderate feminists that are trying to fight sexism, and the militant feminists giving feminists a bad name. I think there are a lot of good feminists out there sending out the right message, but there is the thought that maybe moderates need to think of a re-branding. The further problem is it is not like it is an organized movement, but more of a belief system that people have taken where they want.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for dropping this on the thread today, David. I wasn’t even blogging when Holly wrote it.

    Regarding the “splintering.” I watched this happen to the left-feminist blogosphere in the early 2000’s over cross-cutting clevages like race and class. Literally watched it unfold day-by-day. I had a job that allowed me to follow 40 or 50 blogs daily back then, and I studied lefty blogs for a couple of years. The fragmentation was really heartbreaking to watch.

    At a very early point in our discussion, back on one of the first threads that Diana, Gretchen and I compared notes on, we talked about a lot of the issues in this post. That conversation is the reason I started with the political usefulness of the label. Talk about closing a circle!

    And you’re right in that comment that it isn’t an organized movement. I put feminism in the category of ideology, and I identify as a feminist. It’s not my only or primary ideology, but it’s there.


    • Thanks for the comment. Yeah this one was a while ago and does go well with the discussions we are having now.

      I think some of the problems is that I don’t know how well people deal with complicated anymore and this is a complex issue with many different layers.


      • Yes, and complicated is difficult on social media. Even on a blog where you can write as much as you want, this is hard, because how do you really deal with something like this in even 2,000 words?


  3. Reblogged this on Sourcerer and commented:
    It’s late, I know, but this is really a good post to round out the day. Holly wrote this more than a year ago, before this blog even existed. I never would have discovered it if David hadn’t shared it on this week’s discussion thread. And it talks about the same issues I was grappling with in that first post, all those weeks ago, when I invited people to talk about the political usefulness of feminism as a label.


  4. Reblogged this on The Lefthander's Path and commented:
    More reasons why still need feminism.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Death of Feminism and Lewis’s Law – Throwback Thursday – Comparative Geeks

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