'Misogynistic' op-ed urging incoming First Lady Jill Biden to drop 'Dr.' stirs a furore on social media

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 14, 2020, 02:17 PM(IST)

Jill Biden, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, speaks during a Back to School Tour at Shortlidge Academy in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 1, 2020. Photograph:( AFP )

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In a continuing series of Biden naysayers, a new opinion piece on The Wall Street Journal has stirred a furore on the internet. In the op-ed which was published on Friday, writer Joseph Epstein urges incoming First Lady Jill Biden to drop the title “Dr”. Biden holds two Masters degrees and also has a doctorate in education, warranting the usage of “Dr”

In a continuing series of Biden naysayers, a new opinion piece on The Wall Street Journal has stirred a furore on the internet. In the op-ed which was published on Friday, writer Joseph Epstein urges incoming First Lady Jill Biden to drop the title “Dr”. Biden holds two Masters degrees and also has a doctorate in education, warranting the usage of “Dr”.

The piece begins with the following words -  "Madame First Lady — Mrs. Biden — Jill — kiddo… Any chance you might drop the 'Dr.' before your name? 'Dr. Jill Biden' sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic."

Soon after the absurd claim by Epstein, users on Twitter, especially female academicians were quick to point out the misogyny in the piece. Dr Biden is expected to continue her role as an educator, marking a break from tradition for First Ladies. She also taught during her time as the Second Lady.

Also read: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris named Time 'Person of the Year'

In 2007, Dr Jill Biden had received her doctorate from the University of Delaware. According to details revealed in Biden’s biography written after his time as VP during the Obama administration, her research focused on “maximizing student retention in community colleges”.

Epstein was quick to dismiss the dissertation as “unpromising”. He further claimed how a “wise man” once said that only those who deliver a baby are worthy of bearing the title of “Dr”.

Epstein further urged Dr Biden to “forget the thrills” of being a doctor, and to settle for “the larger thrill” of living in the White House for the next four years.

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Soon after his claims, Northwestern University, where Epstein claims to have taught for over 30 years denounced his views as “misogynistic”, while adding that he has not taught there since 2003.

Team Biden also responded to the piece, calling it sexist and disgusting. “Patronizing, sexist, elitist drivel” is how Kate Bedingfield - the communications director of President-elect Biden addressed the op-ed.

Many women on Twitter followed suit, swiftly adding a “Dr” in front of their names to show solidarity with Dr Biden. In addition, women urged others who had a doctorate in any discipline to mobilise and to disprove the veracity of the op-ed.

For a while, #mytitleisdr trended on Twitter which garnered support from female academics across disciplines.

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