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TikTok’s “chav” trend fuels destructive class stereotypes


TikTok’s “chavs” are portrayed as young white women wearing cheap sweatshirts, mottled fake tan, and speaking exaggerated Bayou English.

  • TikTok’s “chav” trend has received more than 1 billion views.
  • It satirizes the aesthetics associated with the British working class.
  • Users may not realize this, but experts worry that it will encourage harmful class stereotypes.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Within 10 seconds, a TikTok user named “Maddie” changed her appearance, applying bronzer a few shades darker than her skin tone, heavy eye makeup and pale lips. She wore a gray hoodie and huge hoop earrings, frowning at the camera while lip-synching to British rapper Bugzy Malone’s “Body”.This video is used on this platform #chav The hashtag has been viewed more than 1 billion times.

TikTok’s “chavs” are portrayed as young white women wearing cheap sweatshirts and mottled fake tan, speaking exaggeratedly Bayou English -An accent traditionally associated with the British working class.

It is not clear whether non-UK TikTok users who frequently post videos imitating what they believe to be “chav” understand the deep meaning of the word. “Chav” has long been used to ridicule and belittle the British working class, and new trends seem to be reigniting this narrative.

Britain has long slandered the working class

This Oxford English Dictionary Define “chav” as “working-class young people, usually without higher education.” In 2004, it was declared an Oxford language “Vocabulary of the Year” And entered the mainstream, appearing in documentaries and TV shows.Although its origin is not entirely clear, the author Lance Manley in his 2010 book This word is an acronym for “Parliamentary Placement and Violence.”

Reporter Owen Jones wrote in his 2012 book Regarding the concept of “chavs”, politicians have always used it to perpetuate social and economic inequality in Britain. He believes that the struggle of the working class is “the consequence of individual actions, not the consequence of the social structure of the country.” This view was used by Conservative politicians to justify cuts in public spending, especially after the 2007 economic crisis.Jones quote Former Minister of Culture Jeremy Hunt (Jeremy Hunt) commented in 2010, It justifies the welfare ceiling by saying that they will encourage people to “take responsibility for their choices.”

Jones referred to the term cav as “deeply offensive,” while working-class activists believed Has long been calling for it to be regarded as defamation.

Class identity is more rooted in stereotypes than ever

Although the concept of the British working class was once based on socio-economic status, the TikTok trend that mocks the community seems to treat it simply as an aesthetic, ignoring the subsequent marginalization. This may be partly related to how the British view changes in their class status.

A kind Learn The Guardian found that despite the education of the middle class, many people consider themselves working class. People think this may be due to the “grandparent effect”-the use of previous generations as a means to transfer their own class privileges. This may be due to increased discussions surrounding systemic oppression.

University of Oxford doctoral student Fleur MacInnes releases TikTok video education Her followers on social justice issues indicate that users are not aware of the broader impact of the #chav trend and are actually manipulating aesthetics based on stereotypes. “When you see people trying to describe what is’chav’ and what is not’chav’, the definition is everywhere,” she said, adding that the use of the word is so loose that it leaves anything to the working class. People “risk being considered too’rude’ to be respected.”

The characters in popular British TV shows have been description Because of their clothing, class, accent and use of slang, they are called “chavs” by various media. BBC 2020 Creative Diversity Report It was found that “usually those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are described as negative, fueled by stereotypes, and viewed as objects of ridicule.”

Reality shows like “Jeremy Kyle Show“And documentaries like”Fuli Street“The way they treat the working class present has also been severely criticized, usually in a sensational way.

Dr. Deidre O’Neill, Editor Journal of Class and Culture, Told Insider, “The proliferation of reality TV documentaries designated as’poor pornography’ represents the laziness, dishonesty and not-so-smartness of the working class.”

Users may not understand the pain they cause to this trend

Many teenagers may not remember these pop culture phenomena, but TikTok trends can help maintain these stereotypes among new demographics.

Whether intentionally or not, the use of this trend will have a real impact on people from working-class backgrounds. Emily Taylor Davies, a 19-year-old college student, believes this trend is personal offense. “I come from a very working-class background-people never seem to believe this because I don’t fit the’chav’ box ingrained in their minds. What makes me deeply disturbed is that there is a widely accepted ideal that A part of society as a whole should conform to certain stereotypes,” she said.

25-year-old Kat Bukowick Douyin creator There are 30,000 followers who have seen an increase in “chav” related content on the platform, and they believe that most of them stem from lack of education. She said: “Many of the people involved in this trend are either Americans or they are far away from class politics because of their privileges, so that they have not considered this.”

Using class stereotypes to create humorous content on TikTok is not limited to working class characters.This #private school Hashtags have been viewed more than 1 billion times on TikTok, and videos that satirize wealthy teenagers are played boarding school, Own flashy cars and wear famous brand fashions.

20-year-old TikTok user Olivia Anna 100,000 followers, Attended a public school, but released #privateschoolgirl video. She told Insider that she believes the popularity of this trend is due to the desire to correct the balance of privileges.

Although the “private school” video follows a similar formula to the “chav” content on TikTok, some people believe that there is a difference. O’Neill told Insider that, unlike imitating the rich, the negative expression of the working class “reinforces and replicates the negative discourse surrounding other classes that are already circulating”.

TikTok content based on class stereotypes highlights inequalities in British society

O’Neill told Insider that these TikTok trends are a symptom of a wider problem. They see the working class and working class culture as problems, not poverty and inequality,” she said.

O’Neill said that the long-term existence of these class stereotypes on TikTok may lead to real-life dangers. “We are living in an era when the welfare state is regressing and more public services are being cut. If we stigmatize those who depend on these services and regard this dependence as morally condemned, it will be easier Proof of cuts in welfare budgets,” she said.

O’Neill added: “The purpose of these labels is to ensure that this marginalization and demonization are replicated and proven.”





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