I’m curious as to why this word has made such a resurgence back into the modern vernacular and how the meaning of the word is evolving/devolving.
I can remember being very confused by all the 1980′s commercials for douches. As a kid, I didn’t understand why woman constantly needed this clean fresh feeling (…down there *wink) so much so that they needed to talk about it with their mothers.
Somehow people got to thinking this word should be an insult.
While I eventually came to understand what an actual douche bag is, I wasn’t quite sure if I was supposed to be insulted by it. The thing itself serves a specific utilitarian purpose even thought it is used on special lady parts. I feel that calling someone a “tampon” would probably be worse than a “douchebag.” I guess the word itself kinda sounds ugly despite being French. Dooosssh.
I remember hearing it in the movie E.T. when one of Elliot’s brother’s friends said it as an insult with the mother chiding him with,”No douchebag talk here.” I guess it gained popular usage as an insult from a particular SNL sketch called “Lord Douchebag.”
The way it was used in the 80′s seemed like there was no particular definition for douchebag. It seemed to serve as a blanket insult that seemed to generally be used for a replacement for “asshole.” Douche bag would not get you bleeped like “asshole” would.
By the end of the 80s, everyone eventually came to learn that douching is NOT a healthy thing to do for woman; that it upsets the natural fauna going on down there and may lead to some pungent guacamole on that taco. So those incessant Massengill ( “Massengill” a word equally ugly sounding as “douche”) commercials disappeared.
We pretty much lived the 90′s without hearing anyone really using “douchebag.”
But something happened in the late half of the 2000′s where the word suddenly had a resurgence. Some trace it to John Stewart of The Daily Show when he used it on Robert Novak.
Then it spread to other television shows and media. It’s usage again appeared to be used on “assholes.” Suddenly I was hearing it everywhere again, coming out of the mouths of friends and associates.
Then somewhere down the line… the definition of the word evovled away from the generic term for asshole.
I think it somehow coincided with the advent of Kevin Federline.
Suddenly, people developed a defined vision of what a douchebag is… K Fed. A douchebag no longer was just any asshole. It was a certain type of asshole.
I think people were expecting Britney Spears to marry someone else. When everyone saw that she was married to that… they found that the only way to describe that was to define a new word for it.
From Radar magazine:
“Douchebaggery is really an outgrowth of ‘Guido’ style, but it’s rapidly spread through hip-hop, Ed Hardy, and Armani Exchange to become the dominant pollutant of modern culture,” says Jay Louis, who is indeed the expert.
What it really means is still very unclear. I think its still in the realm of “I know it when I see it.” But it seems far more focused than the previous generic “asshole” definition.
It seems to mean someone who does something very unnecessary because he thinks its cool.
Wearing sunglasses indoors. ALWAYS wearing a bluetooth headset. Wearing a jacket but NOT wearing a shirt. Doing kissy face poses to a camera.
I live in fear of being an accidental douche bag since all of the above things can happen if you’re just forgetful. Accidently forget to take off your bluetooth headset and you just might be called a douchebag. So watch out!
For an erudite examination of the word please visit: http://www.columbia.edu/~sf2220/TT2007/web-content/Pages/katie1.html
For what our culture thinks douchebags are visit: http://www.douchebagalert.com/db/top.asp