Does the WSJ op-ed on Dr. Jill Biden show the 'chutzpah' of modern sexism?

The Knesset houses 11 members who hold doctorates, two of whom are women; very few are medical doctors by profession.

Incoming first lady Dr. Jill Biden talks to press as she assembles holiday care packages for deployed troops, at the DC National Guard Armory in Washington, US, December 10, 2020.  (photo credit: CHERISS MAY/REUTERS)
Incoming first lady Dr. Jill Biden talks to press as she assembles holiday care packages for deployed troops, at the DC National Guard Armory in Washington, US, December 10, 2020.
(photo credit: CHERISS MAY/REUTERS)
Leaders around the globe harshly condemned an opinion article written by Joseph Epstein for the Wall Street Journal on Friday claiming that Dr. Jill Biden – wife of President-elect Joe Biden – should remove the doctorate-rank prefix before her name.
In an article criticized for being offensive and sexist after calling the first lady-to-be “kiddo,” Epstein wrote that she should “drop the Dr.” because it “sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
“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,’” the article read. “A wise man once said that no one should call himself ‘Dr.’ unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.”
Epstein claimed that honorary doctorates are no longer much of an honor and she should therefore drop the “Dr.” before her name to save from further embarrassment.
Meanwhile, the Knesset houses 11 members who hold doctorates, two of whom are women; very few are medical doctors by profession. As it is common for members of Knesset to have the suffix “MK” before their names rather than academic titles, it is oftentimes forgotten.
“The audacity he had,” Dr. Lt.-Col. (Ret.) Anat Berko, a former MK of the Likud Party with a PhD in Criminology, told The Jerusalem Post. “It was total chutzpah. And the fact that it comes from a man makes it worse. When I began doing interviews years ago, a communications adviser told me not only to keep the doctor suffix in my name, but also my army rank.”
“Men don’t let their titles go,” Berko continued. “It is illegitimate, disrespectful, and I am sure he would not say the same thing to a man. If the president were a doctor, he would not say such a thing to him.”
Dr. Aliza Lavie, a member of Yesh Atid and a Doctor in Communications, said: “Would they demand that a man remove [the ‘Dr.’]?”
“I am very glad that a woman with a Doctorate in Education has reached the White House,” she said. “I am glad that she is not hiding. The people with education, with experience, have no reason to take their rank out. Everyone knows her doctorate is in Education. Anyone who brings their professions with them into new positions should keep that.”
Berko explained that when she was a Knesset member, her rank “would not be hidden.”
“When I was interviewed on subjects in which I am a professional, the ‘doctor’ stayed.”
Lavie explained that when she had hosted dignitaries such as ex-senators or former members of parliaments from around the world, she was required to address them as such, and so it should stay. “There is meaning behind respecting their experience, their knowledge, so to omit her rank – why?”
Dr. Biden did not go defenseless. On Monday – three days after the op-ed was published and went viral – she tweeted; “Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.”
Northwestern University, where Epstein had previously taught, released a statement through its publication, Northwestern Now, stating that he “has not been a lecturer at Northwestern since 2003” and that the university “strongly disagrees with Mr. Epstein’s misogynistic views.”
Nevertheless, the op-ed was heavily defended by the publication's editorial page editor, Paul A. Gigot, who accused the incoming Biden administration by misdirecting the argument, claiming that it orchestrated a targeted attack by using “the race or gender card to stifle criticism.”