Editor’s note: Post contains strong language. Reader discretion is advised.
While chilling on the sofa after work today, I was thinking about jerks, and how I invariably only assign that appellation to males.jerk 1 |jərk|
2 informal a contemptibly obnoxious person.
The dictionary definition makes no mention of the term being gender-specific, but I can’t think of a single female I’d call a jerk, though I have known women who exhibited jerk-like qualities.
It begs the question, just what do we call a female jerk?
Bitch doesn’t quite cut it for me. When I think of a bitch, I’m thinking of a woman who exhibits a calculating meanness that the common male jerk doesn’t possess. Of course men can be bitches, too, but the word has a decidedly different connotation when used in the masculine sense. It’s curious that I wouldn’t call a male with bitch-like qualities a son-of-a-bitch, but rather a bastard.
Bitch and bastard, then, go hand-in-hand in my book, but the lady jerk still has me flummoxed.
Is a jerk the same as an asshole, and if so, can we simply call female jerks assholes?
No, I don’t think so! To me, there’s a lot more deliberateness to everyday assholery than what you encounter with garden-variety jerkishness, so I’d never substitute asshole for jerk, whether it’s a male or a female that I’m attempting to label. But maybe that’s just me.
None of this is getting me any closer to a solution. To me, a jerk is a male who’s sort of a pest, but doesn’t really do too much harm. What do we call his female counterpart?