“Madame First Lady — Mrs. Biden — Jill — kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name? ‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.” — Joseph Epstein, Wall Street Journal, 12/11/20
Conventional wisdom suggests that a woman may refer to herself and elect to have others refer to her as “Dr.” once she has obtained a bachelor’s degree, taken the GRE or another entrance exam, applied and been accepted into graduate school, performed the necessary coursework, established a dissertation topic, defended said dissertation and published her research, thereby receiving a Ph.D.
This is completely false. Perhaps even dangerous.
In reality, you can’t really call yourself a woman until a man has written a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on why you don’t deserve the title you’ve earned.
Think about it: how else is the general public supposed to know that a woman referring to herself as a “doctor” is not a medical doctor? Say a man on a plane has a heart attack, and the flight attendant yells, “Is there a medical doctor on this flight?” and a woman stands up and proclaims she is a doctor. However, here’s the rub: What the flight attendant and the man having a stroke or whatever don’t know is that the woman is actually a doctor of art history. So when she tries to take his blood pressure or check his pulse, all she can do is whisper in his ear that a privately owned version of the famous painting The Scream recently sold at auction for $120 million.
So the man dies. That man was me. This didn’t really happen, but it easily could have. Now, you understand why we can’t have women running around proclaiming they are doctors. One time I was in a grocery store, and I struck up a conversation with a woman in the produce aisle. She introduced herself as “Dr. Johnson,” but when I turned around, dropped my pants, and told her I needed a prostate exam, she accused me of “harassment” and “public indecency.” At least I’m not the one being accused of malpractice, kiddo.
This is a public health emergency.
The same principle applies for any other title a woman may wish to claim she has “earned” and “has the piece of paper to prove.”
A woman may not call herself a chef until her restaurant receives a Michelin star, or after a man has written a four-paragraph Yelp review confirming that the rare filet mignon he ordered was exactly 133°F. Whichever comes first.
A woman may not refer to herself as an architect until a bunch of men have stormed through the building she has designed and jumped on every surface like it was a bounce house. It is only when the pack of men feel completely comfortable and at home that the woman may refer to herself as an architect. If the men can’t figure out how to operate the microwave, she has to tear the whole thing down and start over.
A woman may not call herself an optometrist until she can find my glasses. Where did I put those damn things?
A woman may not call herself a mechanic until she can rip a man off for $1,500 bucks — the lousy bastard.
And, finally, a woman may not call herself a lawyer until she has successfully gotten all charges against me dropped for exposing myself in the produce aisle at a Kroger.
A man can call himself a man who he has written a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on why a woman can’t call herself a woman until a man has written a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on why she doesn’t deserve the title she’s earned. Or, whenever he wants. But honestly, I refer to myself as “doctor” all the time. It doesn’t really matter.