“Jerk,” as an epithet, is generally understood to describe guys. As are—apologies for the language, but it’s part of the point—“asshole” and “douchebag” and “dick” and “prick.” While these insults may often owe their etymologies to the features of the male undercarriage, their histories are, at this point, almost irrelevant: Their value, as we use them today, is their elegant ability to consider the deeper, bigger question of human goodness. Is he nice, or not? A decent guy, or no?
Their value, as well, is that their subtle variations suggest the nuances that lurk within the storied spectrum of human not-niceness. There’s aggressive entitlement (“asshole”), sure, but also more comical entitlement (“assclown”) and also blithe privilege (“douchebag”) and mean smugness (“prick”) and general self-absorption (“dick”). There’s failure both personal and social. As Aaron James, a philosophy professor and the author of Assholes: A Theory, summed it up: “The asshole is the guy who systematically helps himself to special advantages in cooperative life, out [of] an entrenched sense of entitlement that immunizes him against the complaints of other people.”
It’s notable that women, save for an occasional, ironically feminized “dick,” don’t enjoy such epithetic taxonomies. While there are plenty of highly specific adjectives that will assist you in insulting a female human, should you choose, whether the source of your consternation be her sexual behavior (“slutty,” “frigid,” etc.), her performance of commercialized femininity (“basic”), or her general sanity (“crazy”), there is pretty much only one word that contemporary English speakers have settled on to be-noun a lady who is, all things considered, not-nice: “bitch.”