Let’s talk about that Wall Street Journal op-ed about Dr. Jill Biden, shall we? ICYMI, the piece, written by Joseph Epstein and titled, “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.,” went viral after its Friday publication, being called out on social media for the way it chided the incoming First Lady for using her hard-earned honorific. Epstein pushes for Dr. Biden, who earned her doctorate in education, to drop the “Dr.” in an op-ed that was patronizing from the get-go: Epstein addresses Dr. Biden as “Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo,” before imploring, “Any chance you might drop the “Dr.” before your name? “Dr. Jill Biden” sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
Luckily, the Twitterverse is not having this. #DOCTORBIDEN began trending as women posted similar underlying messages: calling out the op-ed as sexist and saying it would have never been written about a man. And in solidarity, other women who have also earned the prestigious title began to add “Dr.” to their Twitter names.
To all women who are PhDs: In solidarity with Dr. Jill Biden and to stand in solidarity against that sexist trash op-ed about her in the WSJ, please consider adding “Dr” to your twitter name to show how many of us there are. We deserve respect. You earned your PhD. #mytitleisdr
— Dr. Sarah Parcak (@indyfromspace) December 12, 2020
Added 'Dr' to my profile, wearing my doctorate with pride. So #JosephEpstein and other bitter misogynists can crawl back to the 1930s. Doctorates are not easy, @DrBiden should be proud of her achievements. Being First Lady doesn't and should not mean reducing who you are! #PhDs
— Dr. Yemisi Akinbobola (@DrYemisi) December 13, 2020
“Added ‘Dr’ to my profile, wearing my doctorate with pride. So #JosephEpstein and other bitter misogynists can crawl back to the 1930s. Doctorates are not easy, @DrBiden should be proud of her achievements. Being First Lady doesn’t and should not mean reducing who you are! #PhDs” Dr. Yemisi Akinbobola wrote.
Of course, the debate about whether only medical doctors should claim the title isn’t new. However, it should be noted that it particularly affects women in academia who have fought to be recognized as equal to their male colleagues.
Literally *every* woman in academia who has been mansplained about her own expertise can relate to DR JILL BIDEN being called kiddo and given unsolicited advice to "drop the honorific" by a man who completely lacks the credentials and standing to address her. Do better @WSJ.
— Sara Becker, Ph.D. (@sjbeckerphd) December 12, 2020
Sara Becker, Ph.D. (yep, another doctor!) wrote, “Literally *every* woman in academia who has been mansplained about her own expertise can relate to DR JILL BIDEN being called kiddo and given unsolicited advice to “drop the honorific” by a man who completely lacks the credentials and standing to address her. Do better @WSJ.”
Others took to Twitter to mention that Biden earned her doctorate while raising her three kids.
This is insulting to every individual who has literally given away time with their family & friends to pursue a doctorate. But, let’s also not pretend this doesn’t smack of gender too. They owe Dr. Biden @DrBiden an apology. #thankyoudrbiden pic.twitter.com/xFwGvv0G7m
— Dr. Acid Burn (@cybervictimprof) December 12, 2020
Even Merriam Webster had a few words to say about the controversy, tweeting : “The word ‘doctor’ comes from the Latin word for ‘teacher.'”
The word 'doctor' comes from the Latin word for "teacher." https://t.co/wUihrn6Hyq
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) December 12, 2020
Dr. Jill Biden earned her title through hard work and sacrifice, and disputing its legitimacy is an insult to women (and really, anyone with a Ph.D.) everywhere — not just the incoming First Lady. But you know what we should drop? Referring to a grown woman as ‘kiddo.’