Yes, the Wall Street Journal really published an op-ed suggesting Dr. Jill Biden is unworthy of calling herself “doctor.”
Titled “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.,” the essay published over the weekend suggests that Dr. Jill Biden—who earned her doctorate in education at age 55 while raising three kids—is minimizing the work of medical professionals by using her hard-earned title. In the words of its author, only those who “have delivered a child” should call themselves doctors. (Guess pediatricians, oncologists, and orthopedic surgeons should give up their titles too!)
The piece was written by 83-year-old writer Joseph Epstein, who doesn’t have a doctorate or even a masters degree, though he likens both to honorary degrees often handed out to celebrities and the like. That’s incorrect. Dr. Biden, for example, worked towards her doctorate for over a decade.
“Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo,” Epstein began his rant. “A bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name? ‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
You read that right. He really called Dr. Biden “kiddo.” As Kamala Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff wrote on Twitter, “This story would never have been written about a man.” I’d go further and suggest that if by some small chance a writer did write this story about a man, it certainly wouldn’t have been published in a respected newspaper like the Wall Street Journal.
Obviously, Emhoff was not the only one on the Internet disgusted by the op-ed. “The @WSJ should be embarrassed to print the disgusting and sexist attack on @DrBiden running on the @WSJopinion page,” Dr. Biden’s spokesperson Michael LaRosa tweeted. “If you had any respect for women at all you would remove this repugnant display of chauvinism from your paper and apologize to her.”
Here are some more reactions:
Though, perhaps my favorite response comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary account, which pointed out that “the word ‘doctor’ comes from the Latin word for ‘teacher.”
In a somewhat ironic turn of events, Northwestern, where Epstein taught as an “honorary emeritus lecturer,” has removed his profile from their website, according to Newsweek. “Northwestern is firmly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion, and strongly disagrees with Mr. Epstein’s misogynistic views,” the University told The Daily Northwestern.
In conclusion, sexism never sleeps. Alexa, play “no body, no crime” by Taylor Swift.