Those who grew up in the UK know that the ‘chav’ trend didn’t start on TikTok. For the rest of the world, it became a controversial cultural phenomenon in late 2020. But, what’s the #ChavCheck trend all about? And why do people find it so problematic?
To everyone outside of Britain, ‘chav’ TikTok and UK TikTok are one and the same. Teenage girls with orange faces, block brows and gold hoops saying “chewsday” and miming to “Manchester Girl” by Sophie Aspin.
The ‘chav’ trend has amassed over one-billion views since it took off in 2020. Sub-trends that stem from ‘chav’ include #ChavCheck, which now has over 500,000,000 views. The trend involves girls putting on their best ‘Essex’ accent or secretly filming their loud friends.
- Read More: Instagram is trying to become TikTok
For better or worse, TikTok has given chav culture a global regeneration. Makeup TikTok has been creating chav makeup tutorials, arty TikTok has created their own chav aesthetic, and comedy TikTok has been posting chav POVs.
Even Mia Khalifa hopped on the trend!
@miakhalifaMy tiktok location will permanently remain in the UK 🇬🇧 @bigbossboze #chavcheck♬ Chav check – rhi
So… what exactly is a chav?
Merriam-Webster defines it as “a young person in Britain… known for engaging in aggressive behavior.” But this might be a little outdated.
A TikTok chav is typically a young woman. Her makeup is always at least three shades too dark for her skin tone, with oblong eyebrows and ‘concealer lips’. She usually wears big hoops and a slightly orange school uniform. Her hair has to be in a messy bun.
‘Chavs’ in the UK are thought to be loud, confrontational and irritating. TikTok user Bella Morehead claims the US equivalent is a “Cheeto girl”.
Why is Chav TikTok so problematic?
Many people are claiming that Chav TikTok isn’t as harmless as it first appears.
In the UK, the ‘chav’ stereotype is associated with a lower economic class. The exaggerated Estuary English accents are a particular product of this. The word ‘chav’ is often used against those who grew up in poorer areas of the UK, and people feel the TikTok characters are culturally insensitive.
Viewers also feel like the caricature shouldn’t be turned into a Y2K aesthetic or makeup look.
Could Chav TikTok really be a fun way to laugh at the Brits, or is it more damaging than we think?