Their video has become a huge success around the world, with Americans particularly interested in Britain's chav culture. Chavs usually wear designer labels including the chav favourite 'Burberry', and if they’re girls, very short skirts, large hoop earrings and stilettos.
Chavs see branded baseball caps as a status symbol and wear them at every opportunity. Normally found hanging around shopping centres. They usually have a low level of education.
Internet chav guide a surprise success
By TIM STEWART
16th August 2006
Lucy Whiteside and Kellie Munckton tell foreigners how to become chavs.
Two teenage girls' video guide to being a chav has become a bizarre internet hit.
Tens of thousands of viewers from all over the world have been logging on to watch the 17-year-olds give themselves an hilarious makeover as chavs.
In their step-by-step guide, change their make-up and hairstyles and don tracksuits and hoodies before taking to the streets to show off their new look.
Their video has become one of the hottest topics on trendy website YouTube.com with Americans particularly keen to know more about chav culture.
In the film clip, Kellie and Lucy, friends since school in Somerset, start out in their regular clothes and announce: "This is what we look like normally. This is non-chav."
They promise to create a "perfect chav" and begin by plastering on foundation, blue eyeliner, mascara, blusher and lipstick.
Hair, they tell viewers, must be "scraped back".
As Lucy struggles with her locks, Kellie, tells her: "Chavs must go through this situation.
"If the chavs can do it Lucy you can do it too."
The third stage of their makeover is to put on garish tracksuits, hoodies and boots or trainers before chewing gum, flicking V-signs at the camera and swearing.
Lucy says: "We look like chavs now. Notice the attitude, man. Total attitude, like f*** off."
Finally the pair take to the streets at midnight with Lucy shouting: "Yo, what's up my fellow chavs. I'm feeling well sexy tonight. Look at us strut."
Afterwards she declares: "It has been an enlightening experience to see what a chav has to go through on a daily basis. Hats off to chavs."
Lucy, from Chard in Somerset, said she and Kellie, from nearby Tatworth, had been amazed by the response to their video.
She said: "Kellie and I are just dead normal girls but where we live now in Somerset and where I grew up in Bolton there are a lot of chavs.
"They hang around our area just wanting to cause trouble and harass people. We thought we'd get our own back and have a laugh.
"We shot the film in three hours and I went to bed. When I woke up it had already been watched by 3,000 people.
"It was mostly Americans and they were all asking what an earth a chav is. They seem to be fascinated with English culture."
Chavs in their Burberry.
The film has drawn hundreds of admiring responses. One viewer wrote: "Awesome video girls.
"You nailed the look! The chavs they are taking over. Never knew it took them so long to look so stupid every day."
American viewers (in their typical irritating, annoying and foul-mouthed way) are particularly intrigued. One asked: "What the hell is a chav?" And another told the girls: "Someone send a chav to the US so I can kick his ***" (although he wouldn't say that if he met a gang of chavs in a British street on a Saturday night)."
What is a Chav?
'chav' (slang) - a young person, often without a high level of education, who follows a particular fashion; Chavs usually wear designer labels including the chav favourite 'Burberry', and if they’re girls, very short skirts, large hoop earrings and stilettos.
Chavs see branded baseball caps as a status symbol and wear them at every opportunity. Normally found hanging around shopping centres. Like the punks, Chavs started off as a British phenomenon.
Also known as Townies, Kevs, Hood Rats, Charvers, Steeks, Stigs, Bazzas, Yarcos, Ratboys, Chorer, Skangers, Scutters, Janners, Kappa Slappers, Scallies, and Spides. Also known as Neds in Scotland, knackers & skangers in Ireland.
Where did the word "Chav" come from? It's a mystery, but it could come from the Romani word "Chavi" meaning "child" and the London slang word "Chavi", which also means "child."
The press in Britain has recently been having fun mocking a group for which pejorative descriptions have been created such as “non-educated delinquents” and “the burgeoning peasant underclass”. The subjects of these derogatory descriptions are said to be set apart by ignorance, fecklessness, mindless violence and bad taste.
To illustrate the last of these, critics point to their style of dress: a love of flashy gold jewellery (hooped earrings, thick neck chains, sovereign rings and heavy bangles, which all may be lumped together under the term bling-bling); the wearing of white trainers (in what is called “prison white”, so clean that they look new); clothes in fashionable brands with very prominent logos; and baseball caps, frequently in Burberry check, a favourite style. The women, the Daily Mail wrote recently in a characteristic burst of maidenly distaste, “pull their shoddily dyed hair back in that ultra-tight bun known as a ‘council-house facelift’, wear skirts too short for their mottled blue thighs, and expose too much of their distressingly flabby midriffs”.
This upsurge of popular distaste towards one group may be evidence for a cultural shift back towards a class-ridden British society—at least the fear that it might be so is causing some alarm in liberal circles. Critics point to the copying of the style by many younger television celebrities as a further dumbing-down of that medium. Much of the attention is due to the experience of a Web site, which was intended to be humorous but which was infiltrated by extremists who threatened to turn it into a hate site.
From a linguistic perspective the most interesting aspect is the wide variety of local names given to the type. Scots call them neds (often said to be an acronym of “non-educated delinquents”, but that’s a folk etymology, given credence by being mentioned as fact during a debate in the Scottish parliament in 2003; it’s actually from an abridged form of the given name Edward, which was attached to this group in the period of the teddy-boys, who dressed in a version of Edwardian costume), while Liverpudlians prefer scallies (a term of long-standing for a boisterous, disruptive or irresponsible young man); Kev is common around London (presumably from the given name Kevin, common among this group and popularised through the portrayal on his television show by the comedian Harry Enfield of an idiotic teenager with that name). Other terms recorded from various parts of the country are smicks, spides, moakes and steeks (all from Belfast), plus bazzas, scuffheads, stigs, skangers, yarcos, and kappa slappers (girls who wear Kappa brand tracksuits, slapper being British slang for a promiscuous or vulgar woman).
The term that has become especially widely known in recent weeks, at least in southern England, is the one borrowed for the name of the Web site, chav. A writer in the Independent thought it derived from the name of the town of Chatham in Kent, where the term is best known and probably originated. It is also commonly said that it's an acronym, either from “Council House And Violent” or “Cheltenham Average” (the word being widely known in that area). As usual, we must treat supposed acronymic origins with the greatest suspicion; these examples are definitely recent after-the-event inventions as attempts to explain the word, though very widely known and believed.
But it seems that the word is from a much older underclass, the gypsies, many of whom have lived in that area for generations. Chav is almost certainly from the Romany word for a child, chavi, recorded from the middle of the nineteenth century. We know it was being used as a term of address to an adult man a little later in the century, but it hasn’t often been recorded in print since and its derivative chav is new to most people.
Other terms for the class also have Romany connections; another is charver, Romany for prostitute. Yet another is the deeply insulting pikey, presumably from the Kentish dialect term for gypsy that was borrowed from turnpike, so a person who travels the roads.
Did chavi die out, only to be reinvented recently? That seems hardly likely from the written and anecdotal evidence, and many correspondents report that it is well known to them as a spoken term in various parts of the country; what we’re seeing is a term that has been in active but inconspicuous use for the last 150 years suddenly bursting out into wider popular use in a new sense through circumstances we don’t fully understand.