Caricature “Chav” is back on TikTok

Teenagers publish tutorials on makeup, animated transformations, “comedy” sketches, gaining millions of views. How did the insult of the 2000s find a second life? Speech about special raffles.


Someone is having fun

“Yes, I’m pregnant,” the girl tells a friend in a TikTok video that has been watched over 2.6 million times. The initiator is trying to hide. Wearing a top Adidas, the heroine closed her eyebrows, deliberately not mixing three shades of bronzer, too dark for her. Her friend performed a similar makeup procedure. However, the hair was scraped off into a tough bun.

The clip is entitled “Get dressed at school, at school and in class”.

Another TikTok is a “Choose your character” style video. Shows the personification of “Chav.” Like a figure from a video game, gently bouncing up and down. She rotates in the selection menu of a young schoolgirl wearing spotted makeup. The following phrases appear next to her: “Wearing black air force,” says bruv & fam ”,“ say it in my face ”,“ I know people ”,“ try to be cool, be late for school every day ”.

These videos are just two of the thousands of challenges. Publications tagged with the hashtag #chav.

The essence of the caricature

“Chavs” a special kind of humor. Initially, cartoons were created to ridicule the British working class. Over time, the definition has changed.

Today, Chavs call the British young white people living in poor areas. Characteristics of characters – the desire to seem better. However, they can be seen by vulgarity (behavior, appearance), ignorance.

The etymology of Chav is unclear. It can come from the gypsy word “chavi”, which means “child.” A more popular (and probably incorrect) theory is that it is an abbreviation for “Soviet home and violence”.

Whatever the origin, the meaning is universal: a stereotype depicting parts of the British working classes as evil, profitable without real life ambitions.

What is the popularity

The TikTok platform is full of makeup tutorials, animated transformations, comedy sketches. What are Loora Wang and Sister X worth? However, the offensive challenge is gaining momentum.

Chav hashtag videos have been watched over 160 million times. There is even a popular dance group with over 450,000 followers called TikTokChavs. The team consists of five boys dressed in Adidas tracksuits, puff jackets dancing to viral songs.

One member recently stated:

“I have to say that none of us is a“ chava ”in real life. Everyone was brought up well enough, but we try not to let followers know about it. The worse the behavior, the higher the ratings. ”.

Examples of work and their study

If users did not know that the videos were published recently, you would be forgiven for thinking that they were made in the early 2000s. During the reign of shows such as Little Britain, The Catherine Tate Show. A time when “privately educated comedian multimillionaires dressed like chaves for our entertainment in popular sitcoms,” as Owen Jones writes in his book Chavs.

The journalist and activist believes that for some time the form of class hatred has become an integral, respectable part of modern British culture. She was present in newspapers, television comedy shows, films, online forums, social networking sites, daily conversations.

By the way, Katherine Tate will reiterate her role as Loren reunion with Little Britain for the BBC’s big night.

But why did the caricature of chav suddenly return to TikTok, a platform with a predominantly young audience? After talking with several users of the utility, famous for scandalous content, it became clear that each of them followed the trend, copied someone else.

Abi is 16 years old. She has over 800,000 TikTok subscribers. A few months ago, she created a series about Stacy, the “local chav.” In a voice completely unlike her character, the blogger said:

“I saw the other person doing it, and thought it was funny. I decided that I would do one video. It turned out pretty well, so she continued the series “.

Abi thinks Chav is “your stereotypical British girl with big eyebrows who smokes, wears perfumes.” According to the blogger, being Chav is “a stage that we all went through [at school], in seventh, eighth grades.” This is a state of mind, not just appearance.

Like Abi, Molly May believes that being a chav is a type of personality. TikToker from Leeds says:

“I think this is exactly the person you really are. For example, if you are the one who has a lot of makeup, a little rude and so on. Your social status does not matter. It’s just like a person, isn’t it? ”

Molly May also shot a video after seeing someone else doing a caricature.

Since most of the debate about slandering the working class took place in the late 2000s and early 2010s, it is unlikely that today’s teens will understand the meaning. Although none of the TikTok users we talked to seemed to know how historically the term “chav” was politically loaded.

Bloggers realized that portraying a character is sometimes problematic. Abi assured:

“I would say that it can be quite controversial. Especially because many rich people are very protected, refrain from commenting. However, most laugh at it. ”.

While Mariam, who posted one video, says she went to high school with “many girls whom the boys called“ chavs ”. Classmates tried to copy the same language used by the versts. The blogger herself uses slang on a regular basis, so for her imitation was natural.

“I just made an exaggerated version of how I say it. Especially in high school “.

20-year-old Nibel from Surrey believes that the word “chav” is not as offensive as “then”. She said:

“I would never call someone a“ chav, ”because obviously it was offensive to them. Now I think this is a little better. More and more people call themselves “chav”. It’s like a funny joke. ”.

Although the videos do not embody the principles of the TikTok community, the director of the CLASS analytical center Faiza Shahin believes that such images of a person can have real consequences.

“Often people think that they are laughing a little, just joking with someone. This is a deeply political issue. If you look at what happened with the demonization of the working class [mid-2000s], they were turned into caricatures of people who speak in a certain way. Like they don’t care. People commit petty crimes, have children and an unwanted pregnancy.

It was a definite way to portray the working class communities without any strong moral values. But this was followed by a huge reduction in benefits, restrictions on housing benefits. What we call the “pathology bill around the white working class”, in particular.

Caricatures were made to provoke the real villains of society. We were told that they are racists, creating problems for society. Although people think this is a little joke, in fact it is not. Some may be too young to remember.

Such a narrative of the lower class “Chavs” has led to real difficulties in terms of low incomes. Whether we like it or not, people like to make fun of others. And especially when you are younger, you don’t really understand the consequences. When there is no police measure, then, I suppose, this is something that can get away with ”.

Unlike those who came before them, the TikTok generation cannot afford to make mistakes in front of a small audience – emotionally developing online. This is another thing in which they must learn to navigate. In a few years, some of the teenagers will be unhappy with the content they created. Bloggers write reflective apologies in Notes application, remove content from channels, asking for forgiveness from TL.

Obviously, there is a mismatch between modern teens and the long history of British classicism that precedes them. But can we really blame them for this? We spend so much time collectively studying the mistakes of individuals, instead of asking questions about why and how classicism penetrated every part of our society. As a result, it was precisely this type of abyss that occurred first.

Over the years, talking about classes and privileges has become so obscure that some people think that earning 80,000 pounds does not make you rich. It would be unfair to point fingers only at adolescents when most of the adults around them and the institutions in which they are members also did not understand this. But not hearing the term “chav,” distributed on daytime television and in the media, does not mean that conversations around the class are moving forward.

Even if it’s fun now, making fun can lead to tragic consequences. So far, the TikTok social network does not block such content. Everyone decides whether to create scandalous cartoons or not.