With all the talk about vaginas lately, I’ve been wondering about the ubiquity of the term “douchebag.” It seems that it’s currently the favored perjorative to describe a person with negative qualties, “specifically arrogance and malice,” according to Wikipedia; a gentler, less-censorable version of “a**hole,” if you will. I’ve finally gotten used to hearing men who are not in prison call each other “bitch,” but could there be something vaguely sexist about speaking in a derogatory way about a tool used to wash the sacred vajayjay?
What I find interesting about this is that most of the people I hear using “douchebag” on a regular basis have no idea what a douchebag actually is – they know that it’s vaguely associated with cleansing the lady parts, but no one I interviewed had actually ever seen one with his/her own eyes (if shouting across a crowded bar “Hey, douchebag, do you even know what a douchebag even is?” can be construed as an interview.)
I dimly remember a yellow balloony thing with a hose attached that lived under the sink in my mother’s bathroom in my very early years, but it could have been part of the 70s plumbing. Certainly all of us of a certain age recall those Massengill commericials featuring a woman frolicking through a field of flowers touting relief from that “not so fresh feeling,” but I’m pretty sure that modern product doesn’t contain an actual BAG. And while you can still buy disposable douches, it is fairly impossible to buy a douchebag (although it’s easy to find out what only douchebags buy.)
And who douches, anyway? Research shows that women who douche run a higher risk of vaginal irritation and infection, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest women steer clear of the practice altogether – relegating douching to the category of things women thought were good for them but later proved otherwise, such as foot-binding, Phen-Fen and Dr. Phil.
So I guess in that context, “douchebag” makes perfect feminist sense.
And “prostate catheter” really doesn’t have the same ring.