Dr Jill Biden has said women‘s achievements must be celebrated “rather than diminished” in a coded rebuttal against a “sexist” Wall Street Journal opinion piece that appeared to belittle her qualifications.
“Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished,” the incoming first lady wrote in an early Monday morning tweet.
Her comments came days after the writer, essayist and former editor of The American Scholar, Joseph Epstein, wrote an article for the WSJ in which he offered Dr Biden, a qualified teacher, mother and grandmother, “a bit of advice”.
Mr Epstein, 83, referred to the educator as “kiddo” before going on to suggest that she should drop the “Dr” in front of her name because she does not have a medical background.
“Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name?” Mr Epstein wrote.”‘Dr Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic,” he added.
“A wise man once said that no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child.”
Dr Biden, who is married to president-elect, Joe Biden, has a bachelors and two masters degrees and earned her doctorate from the University of Delaware in 2007.
“Between the honorary degrees given to billionaires, the falsely intelligent, entertainers and the politically correct, just about all honour has been drained from honorary doctorates,” Mr Epstein continued in the piece, published on Friday.
Elizabeth Alexander, communications director for the future first lady, described the piece as “sexist and shameful”.
Michael LaRosa, Dr Biden’s transition team spokesman said the WSJ “should be embarrassed to print the disgusting and sexist attack”.
The opinion piece was also criticised by academics and Northwestern University, where Mr Epstein was once listed as an emeritus lecturer of English. His page on the university website appears to have been removed.
In a statement, the university said that it is “firmly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion, and strongly disagrees with Epstein’s misogynistic views.”
The WSJ’s opinion page editor on Sunday defended the article, saying criticism of it was “overwrought” while accusing Dr Biden’s team of politicising what is a “relatively minor issue”.