Liz Jones, spunk-heists and adult egocentrism

 

Oh dear. The professional trolling from the Daily Mail has today produced for us this eggy wet fart: “THE CRAVING FOR A BABY THAT DRIVES WOMEN TO THE ULTIMATE DECEPTION“, by Liz Jones. The link is clean; it won’t give the Mail any traffic that they desperately crave from printing such utter cock.

Liz Jones’s thesis is that women in their late 30s and early 40s are so desperate to have babies that most of them deceive men into getting them pregnant by stealing their sperm. Jones’s evidence for this assertion? She’s done it herself.

Because he wouldn’t give me what I wanted, I decided to steal it from him. I resolved to steal his sperm from him in the middle of the night. I thought it was my right, given that he was living with me and I had bought him many, many M&S ready meals.

The ‘theft’ itself was alarmingly easy to carry out. One night, after sex, I took the used condom and, in the privacy of the bathroom, I did what I had to do. Bingo.

Further evidence for Jones’s statement comes from anecdotes about friends, who may or may not exist, who apparently sneakily pretended to be on the Pill, and an unreferenced survey which suggested that 42% of women said they “would” do it*. Curiously, even the examples she cites of possibly imaginary friends conducting clandestine jizz-burglary seem to be more like examples of women longing for babies without nicking any semen. The survey cited also provides rather poor evidence for her claim: it says “would” do it, not “have done”. That’s quite a difference, there.

The only real evidence for the phenomenon provided by Jones is that she herself did it. Somehow, this is extrapolated into a dire warning that men should be careful when sleeping with women over the age of 37 as they’re probably only interested in his gametes. This argument has been used countless times by MRAs, but is perhaps the first documentation of it actually happening. In one instance. By Liz Jones.

Liz Jones is probably not a well woman. Steven Baxter writes eloquently of why she probably deserves our pity: this is not the first instance of Jones owning up to erratic behaviour. She has run herself into debt, and here she expresses a desperation for children so large that she resorts to downright immoral methods. It’s worrying and kind of tragic. She probably needs help rather than having her myriad psychological issues played out in a national newspaper.

In her piece on spunk-heists, Jones displays a psychological effect called adult egocentrism. Egocentrism is a cognitive bias wherein we fail to differentiate our own thoughts from those of others, and we assume everyone else thinks the same way as us. In other words , it’s kind of the opposite of absorbing group norms: rather than internalising the opinions of others, we project our thoughts onto them. From a developmental perspective, usually we grow out of thinking egocentrically by adulthood.

Not everyone does, though, and certainly sometimes it persists into adulthood. For example, research by Kruger and colleagues found that people are hugely overconfident in expecting others to identify sarcasm in text-based communication, suggesting that this was due to them “hearing” their sarcastic tone as they wrote the message. For my undergraduate dissertation, I replicated this research, finding something similar with politeness. The major limitation in these studies was that the participants were college students, who tend to show similar levels of egocentrism to adolescents. Furthermore, it may be that this environment brings out egocentrism, rather than it being a pervasive trait.

The level of egocentrism shown in Jones’s piece goes far beyond assuming someone will guess you’re being polite in an email. If she isn’t just trolling us, Jones genuinely seems to believe that because she’s done something, every other woman in her demographic bracket will do the same. Now, I’m hardly one to armchair diagnose, but it’s worth saying that is a characteristic of Cluster B personality disorders, which includes antisocial personality disorder (“psychopathy”), borderline personality disorder (a dubious classification: it may be pathologising extreme femininity, and the label is often slapped on patients the doctors don’t like), histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. Essentially, high levels of adult egocentrism are thought to be somewhat pathological.

We must take Jones’s warning to all men about nasty women and their spunk-stealing ways with a whole mine of salt, then. She is projecting her own experience and behaviour onto everyone else, and it is neither healthy nor factually correct.

And of course, spunk-stealing behaviour is abhorrent. Deception takes away the capacity of the other person to consent to the sexual encounter, and in my mind verges into sexual assault. It is serious, it is thoroughly wrong, and I am glad that this is something that most women wouldn’t dream of doing.

Or perhaps I’m wrong here. Maybe we’re jizz-robbing harlots, and I’m too egocentric to notice.

 

__

*A little bit of research leads me to discover that the results were published in the reputable scientific journal That’s Life! magazine.

 

 


2 responses to “Liz Jones, spunk-heists and adult egocentrism

  • Pandora

    I agree almost entirely with your hypotheses here, though as someone (justifiably, at the time) once diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, I’d say that egocentrism by its psychological definition (as opposed to the colloquial understanding of the term, though that too) is relatively uncommon within that bracket. There are of course some exceptions in my experience, as there are in all walks of life, and anyway, all I have to justify this position is anecdotal commentary.

    That said, if we hold to traditional models of the borderline personality (which in my view are grossly exaggerated), then manipulation of others – particularly those with whom a person has a close relationship – is considered a key characteristic. In that regard, the lovely Liz may indeed be displaying pathological traits, though they’d be at the extreme end of the borderline scale if they are in fact present.

    I do think it’s a possibility, though. I can’t fathom that any reasonably sane person would own up to such utter fuckery in (what is worryingly) the country’s best-selling rag. So I do have an element of pity for the woman and agree that she probably needs seriously help (especially in light of the previous admissions you’ve highlighted here), but I’m also so utterly fucking scandalised by her commentary on women over 35 en masse that that sympathy is more muted than it might otherwise have been.

    Great post as always. Thank you🙂

    • stavvers

      I quite agree with you on the points about borderline personality–I’ve had a lot of doubts about it myself, and it doesn’t seem to fit very well with the others in Cluster B. I agree wholly that Liz is probably very unwell, and because of this I find it very difficult to pour scorn on her. The sperm-stealing is THOROUGHLY unacceptable behaviour.

      Thanks for the comment🙂

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