Michelle Obama defends Jill Biden against WSJ op-ed critiquing her ‘Dr.’ title

Citing 'skepticism, even derision,' former First Lady Obama decried what 'happens to so many professional women.'

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Former First Lady Michelle Obama penned a lengthy Instagram post today supporting her friend, Dr. Jill Biden

Her post comes after a weekend of outrage following Friday night’s Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Joseph Epstein, who argued that Dr. Biden should stop using her honorific title while in the White House.

“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.” Obama wrote. “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.” 

She continued, asking: “Is this really the example we want to set for the next generation?” 

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Obama opined that “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,” wrote Obama.

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The sexist Wall Street Journal essay — in which Epstein wrote referring to the next First Lady as doctor “feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic” — has been criticized not just for its subject matter, but for its tone. The writer referred to Dr. Biden as “kiddo” in the opening paragraph. 

First Lady-elect Biden has two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education.

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She responded to the WSJ piece on Twitter.

“Together,” wrote the community-college instructor, “we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.” 

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