For instance, I personally find the use of douche and its cognates offensive on many levels, to the point of sexism. I think it's degrading to women--why is something used by women for purposes of personal hygiene now an (often hilarious) insult?


That's interesting, and I can see the validity in it now that I think on it.

It didn't immediately strike me as sexist (which does NOT mean it isn't). For me personally, I never previously saw douche as being personal hygiene but as something unnecessary that women were pressed to use because they were being shamed about their bodies and the fact that NOTHING on the human body (whether genitals or morning breath or armpits or hair) smells like roses. So for me, to use "douche" is to associate that word with something unnecessary, rude, invasive, something that is traditionally part of shaming women about the completely natural functions of their bodies. I always sort of saw it as a reclaiming - but I might well feel different if something like "tampon" or "maxipad" became an insult.

But I don't think that invalidates someone who is upset and sees the association with women's genitalia as part of the insult. I'll definitely be keeping your point of view in mind next time I want to whip out "douche" as an insult. Especially if there might be a better word at hand anyway.

After all, I really, really get uncomfortable when people use "cunt" or "pussy" when they're not talking about the literal body part. Especially if "pussy" is used to denote cowardice in a man. That gets me really angry.
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