WSJ Writer Asked Future FLOTUS Jill Biden To Drop ‘Dr’ From Her Name. Because Casual Sexism Is Totally Cool
When I was young and naïve, one of the things that peeved me the most was to see people add their academic degrees before their names. On Facebook. I mean, doctors I get. But suddenly, my friends list was full of people adding ‘CA’ and ‘Advocate’ before their names. And I thought that was a tad pretentious on social media. Go do that on LinkedIn, I’d tell ‘em. But then I grew up and realised that I was the snob, and people can address themselves however they want. So if you’re a PhD holder, or an actor like Shah Rukh Khan who has an honorary doctorate and wants to change their name to Dr. Shah Rukh Khan on Twitter, you do you, SRK. I remember regretting my foolishness before, but over the weekend, after the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an Op-Ed asking Dr Jill Biden’s to drop the ‘Dr’ from her name, I felt okay.
No, Jinal, at least you were just stupid and naïve and you grew up. The writer, one Joseph Epstein, who wrote this WSJ article on future FLOTUS Dr. Jill Biden suffered from chronic misogyny. And unfortunately, there ain’t no doctor that can prescribe something for that condition.
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Epstein, in his opinion piece titled ‘Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.’ said that Dr. Jill Biden should drop the ‘doctor’ honorific from her name because it felt “fraudulent, even comic”. Why did the dude think so? Who hurt him? Ah, I’m glad you asked. For starters, since Jill Biden’s doctorate is an education one, Epstein thinks it’s not worthy of being celebrated like say a Doctor of Medicine degree.
“Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.” A wise man once said that no one should call himself “Dr.” unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.”
Furthermore, it turns out that the writer himself is an Ed.D. holder, but he believes that the prestige of PhDs has considerably declined over the years. In fact, he even complained to the Northwestern University, which has been handing out honorary doctorates to artists, entertainers, etc—people who Epstein thinks are sub-par.
“At Northwestern, recent honorary-degree recipients and commencement speakers have included Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers. I sent a complaining email to the school’s president about the low quality of such men as academic honorands…. Between the honorary degrees given to billionaires, the falsely intelligent, entertainers and the politically correct, just about all honor has been drained from honorary doctorates.”
And so in a nutshell, just because he personally is not too fond of the people who’ve been receiving honorary doctorates, and calling themselves doctors of education, he wants Dr Jill Biden to drop the honorific from her name. You see, he’s actually thinking about her good (NOT). And really, which woman in her right mind would choose such a hollow honour when she is the wife of one of soon-to-be the most powerful men in the world, right? So yeah, just be FLOTUS or Madame First Lady, he says to Dr. Jill Biden.
“As for your Ed.D., Madame First Lady, hard-earned though it may have been, please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now. Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden.”
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He wasn’t going to get away with the blatant sexism that this op-ed was seeped in. Because let’s be honest, nobody would’ve written something like this for a man who used their doctorate degree as an honorific that you see medical doctors attach proudly to their names. Or the fact that he just dismissed the achievements of people in arts, humanities and other similar fields as unworthy of celebration. No, he made it a million times worse by being patronising and calling Dr. Jill Biden “kiddo”. The entire article, in fact, is written in the voice of a bitter man who is throwing a tantrum over something he doesn’t like.
#JosephEpstein puts off the energy of an ignorant, misogynistic potato with eyes, typing his #WSJ opinion piece from his mom’s basement while yelling for his meatloaf. Honestly. pic.twitter.com/AoOL0pu1d1
— Whatsinaname? (@hannahtee07) December 13, 2020
The problem with the WSJ insane op-ed was not the nominal argument that people with humanitarian doctorates should not use “Dr” (which is a think lots of people believe), it was that the op-ed was written in the most insulting and patronizing way possible. https://t.co/TMItaUbKeo
— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) December 14, 2020
Oops, Epstein, was Sexism 101 part of your course because you seem to be passing it with flying colours. Twitter called the op-ed out for the blatant misogyny it was peddling and every other thing that was wrong with it. Let’s not forget that there are many female ‘medical’ doctors who don’t get accorded the honour of their ‘Dr’ being attached to their name, just because they are women. And that whole thing about “A wise man once said that no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child”. Are you shi*ting us, man? There are many doctors who don’t deliver babies, and many nurses, midwives, or women who opt for home-birth that have delivered babies without a degree. So who died and made you the God of honorifics, pray tell?
I ask again, what was the need? And seriously, can people not read the room for once?
Twitter spoke out in support of DR. Jill Biden, expressing the same disgust and outrage that you detect here. From Hillary Clinton to Douglas Emhoff (VP-elect Kamala Harris’ husband) to Bernice King (daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) tweeted slamming Joseph Epstein for writing the op-ed and WSJ for allowing it.
.@jamestaranto, you and the @WSJ should be embarrassed to print the disgusting and sexist attack on @DrBiden running on the @WSJopinion page. If you had any respect for women at all you would remove this repugnant display of chauvinism from your paper and apologize to her.
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosaDC) December 12, 2020
Her name is Dr. Jill Biden. Get used to it.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 13, 2020
Both non-medical doctors whose work benefits humanity does not = a comparison of experiences, contributions, leadership and influence.
Please don’t contrive reasons to be frustrated. There are enough legitimate reasons. https://t.co/DNQ5VR4lH5
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) December 13, 2020
Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit. She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country. This story would never have been written about a man. pic.twitter.com/mverJiOsxC
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) December 12, 2020
The @WSJ plays the gender card and tries to cancel Dr. Biden’s accomplishments, then when folks are outraged claims the Biden camp has played the gender card and is part of cancel culture. Got it. https://t.co/8xFv5SO23c
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 14, 2020
I've raised 3 strong, independent daughters. Permitted the chance, they will change the world.
When @WSJ aids & abets toxic misogyny they demean my daughters, all daughters.
Shame on the WSJ for giving a pathetic pale male a platform to express his hatred.#WSJRetract
— Jason Baum (@jasonbaum) December 14, 2020
I just sent the following email to @WSJ. "Thank you for inviting me to serve as a subject matter expert to answer audience questions in the Diversity+Business newsletter. At this time, I would like to withdraw my name and likeness from your newsletter….
— Dr. Stephanie J. Creary (@StephanieCreary) December 13, 2020
And Dr. Biden herself put out a classy tweet to hit back at them haters.
Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.
— Dr. Jill Biden (@DrBiden) December 14, 2020
Imagine having a platform at the @wsj with an opportunity to use it for good but instead, you use it to insult our incoming First Lady just because you have a problem with powerful and educated women. By the way #JosephEpstein, she is Dr. Jill Biden to you.
— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) December 13, 2020
Physcians co-opted the title doctor. PhD has been around for centuries. And no, you don't need to deliver a baby to be considered a doctor. That's just plain rude to other MDs, RNs, Midwives, PhDs, DPT, etc.
— Abby Storm (@Heath_bar_) December 13, 2020
— Lisa Sass (@lisa_sass) December 13, 2020
My mid career PhD took me 8 freaking years! My brother + dad died, as did my friends/colleagues (Pops, Raffi, Ang) and so many clients. Co-organized with @TorontoOPS and barely got through the coroner’s inquest into my brother’s death. You can call me Dr. Chapman.🙏 #DrJillBiden
— Leigh Chapman RN PhD (@LeighChappy) December 13, 2020
Sexism and misogyny are as bad now as they were in the 70s. Disrespect for #DrJillBiden and #VPElect are symptoms displays. I know. I was called the miniskirted lawyer or the lady lawyer instead of a trial lawyer. 50 years is too long. Time to stop demeaning women. https://t.co/OPOk7ahK6E
— Jill Wine-Banks (@JillWineBanks) December 14, 2020
As a doctoral candidate, I had a right laugh at Joseph Epstein’s insulting and obviously attention-seeking piece @wsj chose to print. Why are little men so threatened by accomplished women? Say it with me ladies and gents, Dr. Jill Biden. She earned it. Respect it.#DrJillBiden
— Tondi Ann (@tondi_mondi) December 13, 2020
The WSJ article is still up on their website, like the little attention seeking gimmick that it is. And something tells me, the writer of that article continues to stand by his statement. There’s something about women in power that threatens men, because they think it makes their achievements look lesser, IDK? Even something as novel as the coronavirus can have a vaccine, but a millennia old misogyny we still haven’t found a way to get rid off.