The Old College Try post on Super Villians Week: The New Media Douchebags sent me on a tour to find out more about the history of the term as a form of put-down.
My first stop was Wikipedia. Here’s part of the definition:
The word can refer to the rinsing of any body cavity but usually applies to vaginal irrigation, rinsing of the vagina. A douche bag is a piece of equipment for douching: a bag for holding the water or fluid used in douching (the term douche bag can also be used as an insult; see below for slang uses). To avoid transferring intestinal bacteria into the vagina, the same bag must not be used for a vaginal douche and an enema. . . . The slang usage of the term dates back to the 1960s. The metaphor of identifying a person as a douche is intended to associate a variety of negative qualities, specifically arrogance and malice.
I continued my search and found Saturday Night Live skits although this one doesn’t show the characters’ arrogance and malice as much as just being self-confident jerks.
I found videos on the subject that were so funny and well done I realized again that production quality isn’t as important as content which is why commercial TV is doing its awkward descent into fragmented irrelevance.
So this has been a real education for me. Douchebag is as entrenched in pop culture language as F— and M—F—- and it’s socially acceptable.
While the term seems to me to be really sexist, many women seem to have embraced it and use it along with their male counterparts.
So The Old College Try led me into sociology, the history of advertising, language (douche is French meaning “shower”), women’s history, birth control, “science” , hygiene and pop culture.
I’ll never be able to use it in my blog because it just doesn’t seem to be a good fit with higher ed (although every campus has its share of them ) but it was a great learning experience for me. The icing was the Lysol ads from 1928 and 1948 on feminine hygiene.
That’s right. Lysol and vaginal irrigation. Not a match made in Heaven but I finally have the answer to Why She Spends Evenings Alone.