I don’t usually find myself motivated to comment on politics or to discuss social commentary. Today, however, I find myself unable to hold my silence over the ‘chav baiting’ debate sparked by the publication of Owen Jones’ book “ Chavs: The Demonization of the working class”, in particular Tanya Gold’s article in The Stylist (http://www.stylist.co.uk/people/why-the-chav-label-is-still-repellent) had me fuming over my overpriced salad on my lunch break.
I strongly resent the idea presented that by using the word ‘chav’ or by daring to have an opinion on undesirable social traits and activities of other members of society I somehow think myself better than the working classes, because quite simply put….I do not. I do however think I am better than the portion of society who would rather sit on their backsides than do an honest (or even a dishonest) days work. I see these two groups seemingly lumped into one in Gold’s article the “working class” and the “non working class” or “chavs” as two completely separate groups, the clue is in the word working. I accept that their often similar socio-economics status can blur the distinction for some but in truth I find Gold’s article all the more patronising to the working class as she appears to fail to recognise the difference.
I also strongly resent the idea (and I am happy to be corrected if I misunderstood) that by holding myself in higher esteem than a guest of Jeremy Kyle I am somehow snobbish or demeaning to others, again I stronly argue this is not the case. This country is made up of different classes and its useless to pretend there is no distinction.
I am not a chav.
I am not a toff.
I recognise both of the above as true, have probably mades jokes at both group’s expense and am demonizing neither.
The word chav (to my understanding) is generally used to describe those people displayig characteristics ranging from unattractive to reprehensible, often to do with the use of available money and resources, antisocial behaviour and a certain appearance charcterised by choice of labels, style ect (I’m not going to waste time detailing what is and isn’t a characteristic of “chavs”). I would consider many Chavs to be quite wealthy, it doesn’t mean I find their behaviour any less “chavtastic”.
Chav sympathisers will now no doubt be squawking in retaliation to my slurs saying that the people I refer to are victims of the situation they find themselves in, this is in part true. But do you know what else is true? The society we live in is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it allows for a social mobility that not many can boast and if people want to better their situation they can. Life sucks and deals a bad hand to alot of people in a cruel variety of ways but it’s not an excuse to abandon self improvement.
Mocking chavs, in my opinion, is not about poking fun at peoples misfortunes or accident of birth, it is a justified disdain for rich or poor individuals who participate in self indulgent and often antisocial behaviour that frankly I won’t apologise for looking down on.
We can outlaw the use of the word Chav if people like Tanya Gold think it will really help but honestly, its not going to change how people feel about a group of people who for whatever reason, lack the gumption to live their lives with a bit of self respect.
I will end by saying I have not read Owen Jones’ book but do intend to and this should not be read as a comment on his book. This blog is in response to the various articles circulating this week preaching to us about our evil demonizing ways.