KARACHI: Last week, an article titled Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D. in The Street Journal criticized the future US first lady. Column author Joseph Epstein attacked Jill Biden for using the title ‘Dr’ against her name. “Jill Biden should think about dropping the honorific, which feels fraudulent, even comic,” he wrote, among other things. This followed criticism on the writer who referred to the first lady as “kiddo”. The future first lady earned her PhD in 2007 and plans to continue teaching during her husband President-elect Joe Biden’s time in office.
To quote the columnist, he noted, “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.” This stirred outrage against him, and rightly so.
Earlier this week, former first lady Michelle Obama came to the fore to defend Jill Biden.
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“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,” she maintained in a long Instagram post.
Likewise, Hilary Clinton, both a former first lady and former secretary of state, tweeted in her defense, “Her name is Dr Jill Biden. Get used to it.”
Dr Jill Biden too gave her two cents on the subject, albeit indirectly. She tweeted: “Together, we will build a world where the achievements of our daughters will be celebrated rather than denigrated.”
In addition, Twitter handles of dictionary websites also joined the conversation by sharing the literal meaning of the term ‘Doctor’. Meanwhile, many women took to Twitter with the hashtag #MyTitleIsDr to show that they earned the title and didn’t need to be told whether or not to use it.