Dr. Jill Biden has multiple degrees. She’s taught English for more than 13 years, including teaching adolescents with emotional disabilities in a psychiatric hospital. She’s founded multiple not-for-profit organisations.
She is an expert in education and recently announced that she will continue with her paid work when she becomes first lady in January 2021, when her husband Joe Biden is inaugurated as President of the United States.
Dr. Biden received her Doctor of Education in educational leadership in January 2007, focusing on student retention in community college.
And, as she’s is fully entitled to, she uses ‘Dr.’ in her social media profiles. It’s not “fraudulent” to do so, nor is it a “touch comic”
She also certainly doesn’t need advice from a Wall Street Journal columnist on what she can and can’t call herself.
But that didn’t stop one such WSJ writer from offering such advice regardless — who went on to call her anything but “Dr. Jill Biden”, including referring to her as “kiddo” and stating that she should stop using the title “doctor” because a “wise man” once told him that “no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child.”
Joesph Epstein wrote that Dr. Biden should park the title elsewhere, “at least for now”, suggesting that she “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.”
“Madame First Lady — Mrs. Biden — Jill — kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter,” Epstein began his column.
“Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name? ‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic. 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.”
And yes, it didn’t take long for the internet to highlight the misogyny in his words. It was described as sexist, embarrassing, and a story that would “never have been written about a man.”
A number of female academics have noted this it’s the kind of sexism they experience daily — receiving unsolicited advice on how they should refer to themselves. A number tweeted that they use the title for reasons that men will never understand, such as to avoid being “mistaken for housewives”.
Dr. Stephanie J. Creary tweeted that she would be withdrawing her name from being a subject matter expert on the WSJ’s business and diversity newsletter, after the paper published the piece.
“This article should never have been published,” she tweeted. “It is highly offensive to all of us who have earned doctorates. It is also extremely elitist. As a result, I am unwilling to support any diversity initiatives backed by the WSJ – it would be hypocritical for me to do so.”
Hillary Clinton tweeted that: Her name is Dr. Jill Biden. Get used to it.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, also hit back, saying that: “Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit… She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across the country. This story would never have been written about a man.”
A spokesman for Dr Biden tweeted the outlet “should be embarassed to print the disgusting and sexist attack”.
Michael LaRosa added that: “If you had any respect for women at all you would remove the repugnant display of chauvinism from your paper and apologize to her.”
At the time of publishing this morning, the Wall Street Journal piece was still up.
Dr. Jill Biden is qualified enough to ignore taking on the unsolicited advice.