Dear Liz Jones
Today you wrote a column about women like me, that is, middle-class women who became mothers in our 30s. Thank you. Usually no one ever pontificates about our lives, motivations, shriveled eggs, outrageous sense of entitlement when we’re out and about pushing a buggy the size of a 4×4 etc., so it makes a pleasant change. Nevertheless, while listing all of our flaws — and heaven knows, we late breeders have got them — there’s one you missed out. Yes, we might be selfish, overly obsessed with our offspring, fussy, flabby and over-tired, but do you know what else we are? Really fucking patronising. Therefore allow me, Liz, to patronise you.
You say “maybe I’m just jealous and bitter”. Don’t be so hard on yourself, not least because everyone knows this is just a persona. At this point I probably ought to refer to your own ill-fated attempts to conceive but I’m not going to (except I already have, I suppose. Sorry). Anyhow, it doesn’t matter what you say about me or others like me. No need to apologise. It’s sort of a joke and it sort of isn’t, and it sells and I guess that’s the main thing.
This is the thing that worries me, though: the constant upping of the strangeness ante. The end of your column was especially weird today, one presumes from a lack of editing, but it sort of freaked me out. I worry about you, Liz Jones. We’re all meant to be amused and think you don’t mean half of what you write, but it all feels quite odd to me. I think it’s quite bizarre for a newspaper to be paying someone to deliberately write articles which will make lots of people hate the author, even if it’s good clickbait. Something in me says it’s not right for a person to be selling off their basic likeability, deliberately, word by word, when they could do so much better (apologies if I sound like your mum, except I’m pretty sure I don’t – there’s enough said about your mum in today’s column to assure me of that).
Since I’ve ventured this far into patronising mumsiness, I might as well go the whole hog: Liz, I hope that you are eating okay. I realise you’ve struggled with eating disorders for most of your life, as have I. I read your pieces on anorexia and they bother me. They are sad but more often than not, they don’t strike me as a useful exploration of the illness, more a very public expression of self-hatred. And yet sometimes you have written more illuminating stuff. I’ve read some of your pieces on eating disorders in the fashion industry and thought “go you!”. I’m glad you say these things. So why is it that you increasingly present anorexia not as a scandalous waste of lives and potential, but yet another crazy Liz Jones flaw? You know it’s not a joke – is it because your editors think it is?
Well, I’ve said enough already. You know what mums are like. Take care, and keep warm.
A Concerned Mum (middle class, over 30)