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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

People show support for Jill Biden, #MyTitleIsDr trends after column

The column prompted reactions from women across the world and former first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.  

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | December 15, 2020 2:35:14 pm
dr jill biden, jill biden wsj opinion, Joseph Epstein jill biden oped,"Jill Biden should think about dropping the honorific, which feels fraudulent, even comic," the op-ed read.

An op-ed in a US newspaper that urged incoming First Lady Jill Biden to drop the ‘Dr’ title irked people and resulted in a flurry of responses that caused #MyTitleIsDr to trend on Twitter.

Joseph Epstein in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) called the next US First Lady “kiddo” and asked if she could drop the title from her name.

“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 wrote at the start of his column.

“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.'” he wrote.

The column prompted reactions from Biden’s team, and others like former first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.

“For eight years, I saw Dr Jill Biden do what a lot of professional women do — successfully manage more than one responsibility at a time, from her teaching duties to her official obligations in the White House to her roles as a mother, wife, and friend,” Michelle wrote on Instagram.

Former first lady and presidential candidate Clinton tweeted, “Her name is Dr Jill Biden. Get used to it.”

The Twitter handles of dictionaries also joined the debate by explaining the meaning of the word ‘doctor’.

Researchers and physicians from across the world tweeted about how difficult it is to get a PhD. Many women with PhDs added “Dr.” to their Twitter display names in solidarity. Many added hashtags #MyTitleIsDr and #DrJillBiden to talk about their experiences.

Biden responded indirectly to the opinion piece and tweeted: “Together, we will build a world where the achievements of our daughters will be celebrated rather than denigrated.”

Northwestern University, where Epstein had taught until 2003, distanced itself from him. The university issued a statement that the article “casts unmerited aspersion on Dr Jill Biden’s rightful public claiming of her doctoral credentials and expertise.”

However, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page editor Paul A Gigot dismissed the furore saying the publication has no plan to retract the piece.

In a follow-up piece, the publication said the criticism of a piece about a “relatively minor issue” was “overwrought” and accused the Biden camp of politicising the matter.

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