Revenge, Brighton’s biggest LGBTQ Club hosted a ‘Chav Night’ on the 22nd January in which promotional media encouraged attendees to ‘celebrate/mock the art of chavdom’. The Facebook event is rife with offensive stereotypes, including a promotional picture of the Little Britain character Vicky Pollard with six children in pushchairs accompanied by the caption “Get ya chav on! All chavs and babies in prams free before 12.”
Simply put, the term ‘Chav’ is a classist slur which acts to stigmatise and poke fun at people from a lower socioeconomic background. The word embodies a multitude of undesirable stereotypes and imposes them on the working class as a whole. We are constantly fed the idea that ‘chavs’ are intentionally violent, lazy and anti-social as a means to demonize the working class, and this in turn creates ideological support for the dismantling of essential state welfare and the cutting of benefits.
Members of the LGBTQ community are all too aware of the very real and devastating consequences that oppressive stereotypes can have on people’s lives, and as such it is especially disappointing to see part of the LGBTQ community promote a themed event at the expense of an already underprivileged group. Furthermore, poverty is an issue that disproportionally affects LGBTQ people due to rejection by family members and discrimination by employers. It is also the case that many LGBTQ people who seek asylum from persecution are currently living below the poverty line in the UK. Instead of contributing to this highly conservative and damaging discourse, we should be working together to challenge classism and empower those who are financially less privileged.
Any dignity that Revenge could have regained by admitting their colossal failure of judgement and apologising has been absolutely trashed in the face of their outright refusal to acknowledge how offensive their behaviour has been. Instead of apologising for their actions, Revenge has removed all posts on their Facebook wall which have criticised them, and issued a statement where they claimed that the event theme was “certainly never adhering to social class”, whatever that means. The term ‘Chav’ has been widely criticised in the left wing media for years, so any claim of ignorance as to the structural oppression that the word contributes towards is, quite frankly, laughable.
‘Continue to create great themed parties for everyone!’ reads a petition shared by Revenge in support of ‘Chav Night’. Let’s be clear on this; a ‘Chav’ theme club night is far from great, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. I for one will not be visiting or recommending the club until it discontinues this sort of behaviour and apologises. I urge everyone else to do the same.
Why the LGBTQ community shouldn't support "chav night"
Chav does not equal working class. It is a style which came about from people imitating the fashions of the Beckhams and other tabloid celebrities on an affordable basis. Stereotypes include blaring shitty bass music out of a souped up ford focus, wearing knock off burberry and fake gold ‘bling’. These things are not associated with the working class! Some people love the style so much they self identify as chav and embrace it! Saying that chav is offensive to working class people is the same as saying emo is offensive to people with depression. I can’t help but feel that some people always need something to grumble about. If you don’t like it, don’t go!