On Friday evening, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed criticizing First Lady-elect Dr. Jill Biden's use of the title "Dr." before her name, calling it "fraudulent, not to say a touch comic" because she isn't a medical doctor. To be clear, Dr. Biden earned her doctoral degree, as well as master's degrees—the author simply decided it wasn't up to his standards.
People expressed their anger and frustration on Twitter, calling the op-ed "a disgusting display of misogyny," as well as sexist and disrespectful. Today, Michelle Obama has something to say about it as well. On Monday morning, the former first lady posted a message on Instagram praising Dr. Biden's accomplishments and asking us, "Is this really the example we want to set for the next generation?"
Read her full response below:
"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. And right now, we’re all seeing what also happens to so many professional women, whether their titles are Dr., Ms., Mrs., or even First Lady: All too often, our accomplishments are met with skepticism, even derision. We’re doubted by those who choose the weakness of ridicule over the strength of respect. And yet somehow, their words can stick—after decades of work, we’re forced to prove ourselves all over again.
Is this really the example we want to set for the next generation?
Dr. Biden gives us a better example. And this is why I feel so strongly that we could not ask for a better First Lady. She will be a terrific role model not just for young girls but for all of us, wearing her accomplishments with grace, good humor, and yes, pride. I’m thrilled that the world will see what I have come to know—a brilliant woman who has distinguished herself in her profession and with the life she lives every day, always seeking to lift others up, rather than tearing them down."
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Amen to that.
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Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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