Here’s how Merriam-Webster’s sassy Twitter account perfectly shut down a sexist debate about Jill Biden’s career
In case you’re not aware of all the drama surrounding Dr. Jill Biden, let me catch you up: The Wall Street Journal on Friday published an op-ed in which the writer (in an incredibly sexist and condescending fashion) argued that the First Lady-elect should drop the “Dr.” that she uses in her title ever since she earned her doctorate from the University of Delaware in 2007 — just because she isn’t a medical doctor. We won’t waste a lot of space here rehashing what the author said to support his insane, sexist argument, but to sum it up, he condescendingly referred to 69-year-old Biden as “kiddo” and trashed her doctoral thesis as “unpromising.”
The internet pretty swiftly came to Dr. Biden’s defense for many reasons, not least among them the fact that she has earned a doctorate degree and the author of the op-ed has not. But it was Merriam-Webster (yes, the dictionary company) and its hilariously sassy Twitter account that made the perfect argument.
Alongside a link to its page on the history of the word “doctor,” the dictionary account commented simply, “The word ‘doctor’ comes from the Latin word for ‘teacher.'” Simple. Effective. True.
The word 'doctor' comes from the Latin word for "teacher." https://t.co/wUihrn6Hyq
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) December 12, 2020
This is really the only argument that matters, because as we know, Jill Biden is a teacher, who got her doctorate in education. For that doctoral thesis the op-ed writer called “unpromising,” she studied retention at community colleges (like the one where she teaches) and how schools can better help their students stay enrolled and succeed. She’s a dedicated educator who cares about her students and clearly thinks everyone deserves a good education, and for that (and many other reasons), we’re going to keep calling her “Doctor.” Proudly.
We’re certainly not the only ones. Alongside Merriam-Webster, many people came to Dr. Biden’s defense. Former First Lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was very succinct about her feelings, writing, “Her name is Dr. Jill Biden. Get used to it.”
Her name is Dr. Jill Biden. Get used to it.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 13, 2020
Chasen Buttigieg, husband of former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, took aim at the op-ed’s author and his apparent lack of respect for an incredibly successful woman.
The author could’ve used fewer words to just say “ya know in my day we didn’t have to respect women.” https://t.co/jr9hICPzV4
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chasten) December 12, 2020
Michael LaRosa, spokesperson for the First Lady-elect, defended Biden and called the piece “a repugnant display of chauvinism.” Indeed.
.@jamestaranto, you and the @WSJ should be embarrassed to print the disgusting and sexist attack on @DrBiden running on the @WSJopinion page. If you had any respect for women at all you would remove this repugnant display of chauvinism from your paper and apologize to her.
— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosaDC) December 12, 2020
Husband of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff, who left his job to support Harris in her new role, also showed his support for Biden calling her “an inspiration.” Now might be a cool time to remember that Dr. Biden is reportedly planning to continue teaching even as her husband assumes the presidency — her dedication to education is certainly something to admire.
Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit. She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country. This story would never have been written about a man. pic.twitter.com/mverJiOsxC
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) December 12, 2020
And Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., another non-medical doctor, dropped the mic with this tweet.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) December 13, 2020
Dr. Biden, to her enormous credit, took this all in stride with incredible grace, and her response seems like the perfect final thought to add before we all just move on from this misogynistic nonsense.
Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.
— Dr. Jill Biden (@DrBiden) December 14, 2020
“Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished,” she wrote.