(A tale of me – me – me feminism)
Feminists like to claim that men are narcissistic and fragile. This is little more than a throwaway jibe that is seldom backed with evidence.
If you look at articles in newspapers written by male and female journalists, a different picture begins to merge. The criteria for narcissism I used was the presence of the words I, me or my in the title of an article. That is, writing about oneself. Of course, this criterion underestimates narcissism because there are many articles about a third party topic where the author twists the narrative onto his or herself. An example of this genre was an article by Jess Phillips on the Murder of David Amess, which quickly turned into Jess talking about herself.
Over two days I scanned through articles in the online versions of Guardian, Independent, Times and the Daily Telegraph. I found only one article written by a male journalists with I, me or my in the title. Without effort I found fifteen articles by female (mostly feminist) journalists that focussed on themselves. Here are a few.
It is possible that an article beginning with ‘I’ is not motivated by narcissism and self absorption. For example, someone who was an eyewitness to the destruction of Mariupol in Ukraine might begin an article in the first person to establish their credentials to write about the subject, but, in this case, they are not really writing about themselves. However, in most of the articles I found the authors were promoting their real or supposed victimhood or signalling their virtue.
Victimhood signalling can be closely linked to narcissism. Indeed, signalling virtuous victimhood has been linked to the Dark Triad personalities of Machiavellianism, narcissism and pychopathy. For example, see blog post Faux victimhood and narcissism. There is also a body research looking into this subject. For example, Signalling virtuous victimhood as indicators of Dark Triad personalities, published by the American Psychological Association. For another account of the subject for an evolutionary psychology perspective the article – The Evolutionary advantages of Playing Victim, published in Quillette is also worth a read.
The only article written by a male journalist with ‘I’ in the heading was, in my opinion, not so bad.It appeared in the Independent. The headline ‘I was kicked out of Madison Cawthorn’s primary party. Here’s what I saw beforehand‘ was about establishing context and confirming his credentials to write about the subject rather than promoting his victimhood.
This collection of articles identified over just two days already seems to confirm my suspicion that female journalists, particularly the feminist ones, are much more likely to write about themselves. I plan to continue this project for longer to get a larger sample.
This one is a spoof but it can be hard to tell.