Gender association with the word "Jerk"

While I was having a friendly conversation with a co-worker, she called me a jerk. I responded by calling her a bitch. She cried foul that I had responded in an inappropriate manner as I had escalated to a needlessly hurtful level of insult. I replied that there isn’t really a female equivalent of “jerk”. It then occurred to me that I associate jerk with men but not women. I have no real reason to do this. I’m not sure of the etymology of jerk as an insult but if it applies only to men, I can come up with a pretty good theory.

When you hear “jerk”, do you think of a guy? Is there an equivalent for women?

Jerk is a man. Bitch is a woman.

Yeah, I definately associate “jerk” with the masculine form. A female jerk? Hmmm… jark?

Weird…I was just having this conversation with myself the other day. I thought I had been a jerk in a situation (I’m a woman) then I thought “well no, I was a bitch. Was I a bitch? Am I a jerk?”

I came to the conclusion that “bitch” was too harsh and I can just be a jerk.

“Jerk” seems masculine to me, also, but “bitch” really is a step up on the insult ladder. I’d say something like “snot” or “stinker” or “wiener.” Something you could say to a kid would be on the same level.

I have called ladies jerks on many occasions.

Yeah. Agreed but I’m not sure there’s an equivalent-level word for jerk. “Bitch” is probably more on the level of “asshole.”


“Bitch” implies directed malice to me. A “jerk” does not care about the object of his (or her) jerkitude.

I’ve always assumed jerk is short for “jerk off” and therefore masculine.

Sometimes I refer to myself as a dick (I’m female) when I’m apologizing for a minor infraction and want to lighten the mood.

I try to avoid gendered insults, so I use “jerk” or “asshole” or “idiot” for everyone.

Yeah, to me, “bitch” and “asshole” are about equivalent in my mind, although to me, “bitch” has a slightly more surreptitious, back-stabbing connotation, while “asshole” seems more blatant. I have called women assholes, though, when appropriate.

But anyone can be a jerk. In fact, my sister was a jerk to me just the other day, and I told her so. She was upset about something else entirely, and took it out on me. Later, she apologized and said she didn’t really know why she was in such a bad mood. I told her it’s fine and perfectly normal to be in a bad mood sometimes, even if there’s no real reason, but you can’t just go around letting yourself be a jerk because of it.

Me, I’ve been a jerk a bunch of times. Hell, I’m probably being a jerk right now, to someone, somehow. Sorry, whoever you are. I don’t mean it.

To me, twat is the feminine of jerk. It conveys exactly the same level of careless-bordering-on-malicious disregard for others, but in pink.

Woah. I don’t see that at all. When you bring genitalia into the mix, you’re dangerously close to the “C” word. IMHO.

Huh, that’s interesting. To me ‘twat’ is almost the ‘c’ word and considerably more offensive than jerk. I would not want to be called a ‘twat’ when I was only being jerkish.
Nars Glinley beat me to it . . .

Oh, man! “Twat”? That’s just one step down from “cunt”, in my book! I actually laughed imagining your reaction upon calling me a twat, when I’m only being a jerk.

And interestingly, though I’ve never really used it, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a woman called a twat. To me, that’s something you’d call a man - specifically, the junior-asshole type. Someone who tries to abuse his power, but doesn’t actually have any power to abuse.

ETA: or what **Nars **and **Heckity **said.

I think that most insults, including “jerk” are gendered, but using cross-gender insults can be very effective. If someone calls a man a jackass, it’s a generic insult. If they call a woman a jackass, it becomes a remarkably accurate assessment of her personality.

Well ,the jerk store just called and they’re running out of you.

When the movie The Jerk came out, I was pretty dang sure that it was going to be about a guy.
Bitch is a bit more offensive than jerk, in my opinion.
But, there are more than a few gender inequalities in English.
For example, there is no real equivalent to the word ‘master’ because ‘mistress’ has an entirely different connotation.

The urban dictionary think the ‘c—’ word is equivalent to jerk but those folks are … uh… just wrong. Cite

Bitch is the catch-all word for women. It takes the place of jerk, douchebag, asshole, prick, dickhead, sonofabitch, motherfucker, etc. A woman might be called any of these names (and a man might be called a bitch) but bitch is definitely used to convey different levels of insult depending on the context and tone. I don’t see that big a difference between jerk and asshole anyway–someone who cuts me off in traffic might be called either one, mainly depending on whether there are children present.

KneadtoKnow suggests twat for women in place of jerk but in my experience there are no words for female genatalia that women don’t find highly offensive–especially women who take umbrage at ‘bitch’.

It also seems to me that the person who started the name-calling in the workplace should not be the person who takes offense when called a name.