Wednesday, December 16, 2020

A Vast Anti-Misogynistic Conspiracy

 Dear Wall Street Journal Opinion Page Editor Paul A. Gigot,

Or, should I say, Babycakes?  After all, the new article (behind a payway, here's a NYT article about it) you wrote defending the article that Joseph Epstein wrote, and you published, says that Epstein's use of the word 'Kiddo' to describe Dr. Jill Biden, an educator and a grandmother, is acceptable because that's what her husband sometimes calls her.

My husband doesn't call me Babycakes. He calls me Sweetheart sometimes. That doesn't give you, or Epstein, permission to do so. Please take a note of it.

You claim that the outrage sparked by Epstein's essay (that link is behind a paywall, but if you look around the internet, you can read it for free) is a Democratic conspiracy meant to somehow stifle free speech, and that the people expressing it were playing "the race or gender card to stifle controversy." You remind us that Dr. Biden's position as incipient First Lady means she's not off-limits to this sort of criticism.

You. Don't. Get. It.

People are not angry because they're Democrats or Republicans. They're angry because Epstein's misogyny, which you considered worth publishing and defending, trivialized not only an impressive accomplishment but also every woman who attempts such things. They're angry because yet another old white man told a woman to sit down, shut up, and find her fulfillment in the shadow of her connection to a powerful man.

The line that really makes me furious isn't being talked about much. Epstein rattles on about the how doctorates aren't worth as much any more, how even honorary doctorates have been diminished these days, and then--this is the part that really torqued me--that they decreased in prestige proportionally to how often they'd been given to Black women. Yep. It's not just these women who want to be called "doctor" that infuriate Epstein. It's these uppity Black women with advanced degrees.

How dare he? How dare you? Is it remotely possible that you don't understand how insulting you're being? How is it possible you think people are angry as a stunt, instead of being angry because you, the pair of you, gave them sufficient reason to feel that way?

I'm not a doctor of any sort. My friend Sarah is (Doctor of divinity from Harvard, therefore Reverend Doctor to you), as is my other friend Sarah (veterinarian), and her sister Kelly (biologist, head of a university department). As is the female obstetrician who delivered my daughter. As was the other female obstetrician who delivered my son. But none of that is the actual point here. The point is that this man went out of his way to trivialize a woman's accomplishments. He even demeaned the title of her doctoral thesis. He's small-minded and petty, and you found his insults worthy of being given a national stage, not to expose them, but because you agreed. And we're angry. Not because we're Democrats. Not because we're women. Because the pair of you are assholes, and you piss us off.

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