• Hannah Engel

Ayo, Chav Check

Breaking down the ins and outs of being a Chav

(From left to right: @bella.veadz, @sadhbhcosgrave03 and @elsafrost29 / TikTok)


It’s 3 a.m. You’re scrolling through TikTok and you stumble across multiple videos of Americans wearing concealer as lipstick, heavily drawn on eyebrows and talking in a dramatic British accent. “Chav Checks,” are one of the newest and biggest trends on TikTok, but what does the word “chav” really mean?



The origin of the word is kinda cruel.


The word ‘chav’ originates from the Romani word ‘chavi,’ which means child. ‘Chav’ was used in the early ‘00s to stereotype the British working class. In America, we would use the word “trashy” or “trailer trash.” Overall, the word was used to divide people by their social class, which isn’t cool.


Over the years, the word ‘chav’ has evolved into describing young teens who wear designer bags, sportswear, and caked-on makeup. Basically, the British version of a hot Cheeto girl. 



The word has picked up steam on TikTok with the hashtag ‘chav’ having over 500 million views. These videos usually consist of Americans making themselves look like a so-called ‘chavs’ by piling on the foundation, thickening their eyebrows and rapping to popular British rap. 




Pause for a sec. Let’s talk about this music


To be honest, Shade by IAMDDB has been stuck in my head all week. It’s for sure something I would throw on to get me hyped for a night out. 


While researching for this article, I somehow got sucked into a British rapper beef internet spiral. Rapper Millie B, a grime artist, made a diss track about fellow rapper Sophie Aspin. This diss track just so happens to be one of the main songs used in ‘chavtok.’ (I’ll give you a hint on which one: it starts with “If you don’t know me I’m M to the B.) 




Grime music is an electronic rap that emerged in London during the Y2K era. It was created for the working-class culture, or ‘chavs.’ Grime rappers are rebellious and free-minded and they try to work their way out of their social class through their music. 


Grime is basically the voice for ‘chavs.’ 



Ok, back to business 


When looking through ‘chavtok,’ it seems that Gen Z believes ‘chavs’ are just basic British girls who wear heavy makeup, Adidas tracksuits, and Victoria Secret body mist. Most users are too young to really know the significance of the word. 


It’s almost as if these so-called ‘chavs’ have reclaimed the word and twisted it into something to laugh about rather than something that harshly divides them based on their social class. 

 


“See these people calling me a chav,” said TikTok user @elsafrost29. “I am a chav. I love being a chav.” 



While it’s clear that most of these chav TikToks are lighthearted and don’t mean any harm, it is still important that we do our research on something before jumping on the bandwagon along with everyone else. 






Hannah Engel is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. Her simple pleasures include playing Animal Crossing, online shopping, and taking care of her plants. She’s passionate about fashion and travel. You can find her on Instagram @hannah__engel.