Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rise of the Doucheoisie

Last month, the New York Times devoted an entire article to the rise of the word "douche" on television. They write, "In total, the word has surfaced at least 76 times already this year on 26 prime-time network series... That is up from 30 uses on 15 shows in all of 2007 and just six instances on four programs in 2005." Furthermore, writes Edward Wyatt, "the word 'douche' is neither obscene nor profane--although this usage is certainly offensive to many people."

More recently, Details detailed the rise of the "Douchefag," angering some gay men with their two-page spread on the topic.



I recalled back to last spring, when a debate began in the comments section of my post on Loudmouth Weather about the merits of the words "douche" and "douchebag" as descriptors of a certain type of Manhattanite.

One anonymous commenter said, "These words strike me as misogynist." Another commenter, Marjorie, responded, "i'm a feminist and i say 'douchebag'! ...since douching is a patriarchal conspiracy designed to make women self-conscious and sell them a dangerous product they do not need, calling someone a douche does not insult women."

Today, the douche debate continues.



Melinda Mattos of Shameless tackles the feminist issue as she explores the origins of 'douchebag' as an insult and the history of douching in America. She wonders, "Should a feminist word nerd like me be calling people douchebags?" In the end, she decides that it's a good thing.

A similar debate about the possible sexist nature of the term came up on the blog Pandagon, where Amanda Marcotte used the term "Doucheoisie."

As an amateur neologist, I like new words. And I like stories about where words come from and how people feel about certain words. (For example, celebu-everything.) One of the neologisms I am enjoying right now is this "Doucheoisie." It raises yunnie-ism to the level of an entire class.

I'm not sure if this word has yet been uttered on prime-time television, but maybe it's time.

14 comments:

Barbara Hanson said...

It's time for lack of imagination and wit? Oh, right, television's already there.
Fuck, douche,and dude comprise a hefty percentage of conversation I hear on the street every day. Buy a thesaurus; the problem with these words is that they are trite, juvenile, and boring.

Bowery Boogie said...

funny how "douchebag" is gaining traction in the mainstream. that phrase has been around for awhile...

guess it's official now that the Times has covered the subject.

Anonymous said...

Yunni-ism? More like yoni-ism!

marjorie said...

thanks for the shout-out, jeremiah. (i'm no longer at the Forward, btw -- i'm now at Tablet magazine.)

i stand by "douche" as a feminist-OK insult, but take issue with "douchefag." to me the word fag is still wince-inducing. i would enjoy hearing from gay men who've reclaimed it and think it's fine, tho.

and hey! now let's discuss "tard"! i'm hearing a lot of "douchetard" these days!

Goggla said...

Get behind me, all you douchelicious slubberdegullions!

Anonymous said...

its a sexist term cause you only call men douchebags. i hate the word.

Anonymous said...

Douchoisie is perfect. Not gender specific. Open to all.

gabriel said...

My favorite instance of DB is in the middle of this ad on the Tim & Eric show. Worth a watch: http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/60030/detail/

Jeremiah Moss said...

the city is full of female DBs. why not extend the term to all genders?

Bryan said...

George Carlin's sketch "New York Voices" (1973) uses "douchebag" specifically and exclusively to refer to females. You can find the sketch at the end of a post I wrote a while back.

I'm interested in something going on right now on this and other sites I read: "douche" being used for uber-hipsters. I think you refered to Cafe Habana as "douchey" the other day. I don't see as many popped collars in there as I do low-rise skinny jeans, stocking caps, red flannel, and pencil mustaches. The hipsters there sometimes seem more like SoHo hipsters -- high fashion -- than dirty Williamsburg kids with untrimmed facial hair. So by calling it douchey were you meaning the brand of hipsters that congregate there have come full circle and might as well be calling each other "bra" and popping their collars?

Then again, I've noticed a bunch of kids with skinny jeans wearing topsiders. What a bizarre conglomeration of conflicting styles! It like the baby mods who wear studded belts and skinny ties and cardigans at the same time ...

Elizabeth Manus said...

Jeremiah, I am a huge fan of your column, as you know, but since we're talking about language, what about the phrase (in your post) "a good thing"? Is it just me or did anybody else think of Martha Stewart? I realize this is in every 14-50 year-old's lexicon, but is there a subtext given the subject of your post?

Jeremiah Moss said...

bryan, good question about "the brand of hipsters" who "have come full circle and might as well be calling each other "bra" and popping their collars."

i would say, yes, this probably qualifies for DB status, which of course goes beyond popped collars (or pink shirts). it's a state of being. hard to define. maybe someone can take a crack at it?

Bryan said...

douchesters?

JaneDoe said...

So, if douchebag is misogynistic, what do the FemNazis say about scumbag? Or is what is good for the gander not good for the goose?

Why is it alright to call a man a "prick" but it is misogynistic to call a woman a "cunt" or "twat".
(If you disagree, watch the hilarious episode on 'Curb your Enthusiasm' where Larry David gets skewered by the Politically Correctoids for calling some guy a 'twat'.)

I am really sick of the Language Police.

Reminds me of an old witicism,
"How much longer will emancipated woman continue to tolerate the invidious decision that bars her from the office of public hangman?"