What is a Chav?

Its really almost impossible to describe what it is to be Chav to somebody from outside of the U.K., it has to be seen firsthand. The closest you would have in America to chavs would be the Wigga, but that doesn't even begin to come close. Wigga's are obsessed with the appropriation of black urban subculture, it is their Raison d'Etre, the be-all and end-all of their existence. The Chav sports a similar look but only for the most superficial of reasons, it is merely their uniform, the rigidly enforced dress code demanded by the tyranny of peer pressure.

Chav culture positively venerates stupidity. Any sign of intelligence is an absolute anathema to the Chav and his worst nightmare would be to be seen by one of his fellow chavs leaving a public library. Show a Chav the movie 'The Matrix' and he will grow bored and listless in between the fight scenes, ask him what he thought of it at the end and he will reply "well it wuz ok n'dat but der wer too much talkin' in it, der weren't enuff fings blowin up or enuff car chases, an dat Keanu Reeves ee don't look solid or nuffin, it wud ave been better wiv Vin Deisel as de hero, innit?".

Ordinarily Chavs pose no danger to the general public, but they are very similar to those little chicken sized dinosaurs in the movie Jurassic park in that they can become dangerous in packs. Meet a chav in the street when he is alone and you become invisible. Single chavs cannot engage in eye-contact and are entirely mute. Encounter the same chav when he is with a pack of his cohorts however and it becomes a very different being, puffing out its weedy anorexic little chest and barking loutishly like an alpha male at any passer by for even the slightest (imagined) provocation. Chavs are quite simply, only brave when they have backup.

Its a common misconception that Chav is a socio-economic term. This is untrue. Chav is a mindset. Just as an American need not live in a house with wheels in order to be a redneck, Chavs do not need to be unemployed or live on a council estate, there are just as many chavs with middle class middle income backgrounds as you’ll find in any post office giro queue.


Whereas its hard to exactly define what makes somebody a chav, spotting a chav is very easy. Chavs rigidly and slavishly follow very strict rules of appearance. No chav is permitted to be accepted within the hallowed auspices of Chavdom unless he does not deviate from the wearing of the sacred vestments. Principle in which is Burberry, a distinctive trademarked check pattern of clothing produced by a high class London clothing company more usually associated with the English aristocracy. Several years back the Burberry clothing company made the fatal mistake of producing a baseball cap in their signature ‘Burberry check’ which immediately became de-riggour within Chav culture. So obsessive has become the Chav appetite for all things Burberry that a Chav can no more be accepted in Chav society without his Burberry than a Biker could in his without his leathers.You have to think of it in terms of the Bloods and Crips of L.A. suddenly developing an insatiable taste for Harris Tweed or Tartan Kilts to understand the absurdity of the Chav affair with Burberry check. The Burberry clothing company became so horrified with the association of their distinctive wares with Chav culture that they immediately ceased production of the baseball cap. However so ingrained has Burberry become within Chavdom that a lucrative black market now exists in conterfiet Burberry wares to satisfy the Chav hunger for these silly clothes.High fashion Brand name athletic clothing and "prison-white" Reebok Classics, along with as much flash gaudy jewelry (‘bling’) as the Chav can afford are also essential elements of the Chav look.

Chav Codes of Conduct

Even stricter than the Chav dress code, are the Chav codes of conduct. A principle example of which are the Chav rules on photography. All Chavs when photographed in groups MUST display silly Americanized hip-hop style gang hand gestures, even though the average Chav would shit and run a mile in under 30 seconds if ever he / she was unfortunate enough to encounter a real american street gang. This rule is strictly enforced at all times. There are only three permissible exceptions to this rule. (1) A Chav may forgo the hand gestures so long as he prominently displays alcohol in the photograph (beer is permitted, but for maximum Chav kudos Alco-pops or cheap foul gut rot like Mad Dog 20/20 or White Lightning Cider, is infinitely preferable). (2) A Chav may be allowed to forgo hand gestures so long as he is gurning (staring madly into the camera, teeth bared, face contorted in mock rage to show how hard he thinks he is). (3) The Chav may forgo the display of hand gestures as long as he is holding a spliff, or (in exceptionally rare cases) a Chavette (female Chav).

Secondly in the Chav canon of behavior is the consumption of alcohol. Even though merely sniffing a can of Tennants Extra is more than enough to get any Chav steaming drunk, all Chavs must drink to excess at all times. Once the consumption of alcohol has begun, a Chav may not under any circumstances cease drinking until he has at least spewed down the front of his shirt, or taken offense at some imagined slight from a fellow chav or innocent bystander, stood up swaying, screamed every obscenity he can recall and lunged at them screaming the traditional Chav battle cry“c’mon den, lets ave yer!”. Fortunately for Chavs, inter-chav fighting is a relatively safe and harmless affair, as an unwritten rule of the Chav code is that no Chav will ever engage in a fight unless he has at least two friends to drag him to safety screaming “leave it Wayne, ee’s not werf it!” the moment it looks like he’s losing.


Although not strictly a compulsory rule, wherever a Chav is drunk and in the presence of music, it is preferable for maximum Chav kudos that the Chav stands up when he is as drunk as he can be & yet still capable of walking, slur “arrrrr eh!, I fuckin’ luv dis song”, barrel into the largest crowd of people available, for extra points knocking over as much in the process as he can, and immediately begin dancing like Bez from the Happy Mondays on a serious overdose of mescaline. If the Chav is practicing for his Black Belt 3rd Dan in Chavdom then he must do his monkey dance with a lit cigarette dangling from his mouth, so that the moment attention begins to wander away from him he can ‘accidentally’ let it drop, brush at the front of his clothes and yell out loudly “arrrrrrrr eh!, ‘ave lost me fuckin ciggeee!. Baz!, Baz!, eh! Baz! givuz a fuckin ciggeee willya?” thus ensuring the attention of all around is rightly focused back on his comedic display.

Chavettes : The female of the species

Chavettes are virtually indistinguishable from their male counterparts in almost all respects. They follow the strict Chav dress code with exactly the same fervor as their men, drink to excess and are just as loud-mouthed loutish and yobbish in every way. The only respect in which the Chavette differs from the Chav is that the Chavette is far less cowardly, unlike the male she has no inhibition when it comes to attacking without the safety of her pack to back her up. Fortunately for the public, Chavettes tend to only display their aggressive tendencies towards other Chavettes who they suspect of trying to “bag-off’ with their males, and to pound shop security staff.

Chavettes fall broadly into two main sub-groups. The Jennifer Ellison Wannabies (JEW’s) and the Mingers. JEW Chavettes worship Jennifer Ellison, a former minor UK soap opera star who played Queen of the Chavettes ‘Emily Shadwick’ in the TV
series Brookside. The holy grail of all JEW Chavettes is to get as close as they possibly can to emulating their ideal woman ‘Emily Shadwick’ and in their quest they will pour religiously over every issue of the twin Chavette Bibles, ‘Closer’, and ‘Heat Magazine’ (their only reading material) for any mention of their Goddess. JEW Chavettes also love Victoria Beckham, as she is one of their own, made good, having followed the great JEW Chavette dream of hooking herself a rich footballer. JEW Chavettes can be passibly pretty, but the Chav Code demands that they strive to look as slutty as is humanly possible. Piling on the make-up with a trowel, wearing the most hideous fake sun-tan they can find, draping themselves in the kind of bling that Liberace and Elton John would have turned their noses up at, and dressing themselves in clothes a 20 Dollar Tiajuana Hooker would consider cheap and tasteless. Give a JEW Chavette the choice between world peace and breast implants, and she’ll go for the Tit Job every time!. JEW Chavettes favorite TV programme is ‘Footballer's Wives’, & their favorite restaurant is McDonalds™ (Because Burger King don’t do McNuggets™).  As JEW Chavettes are the high class women of the Chav world, they are given far more latitude in their choice of hair style than the compulsory ‘Scrapeback’ (see below) that the Chav code of conduct demands of the Minger Chavette, but many still elect to go with the Scrapeback because it wont get messed up by their Burberry Baseball caps.

The other variant of Chavette is The Minger Chavette.Unlike the JEW Chavette the Minger is totally unconcerned with
appearance. Minger Chavettes are ugly as sin and have faces fit to grace any episode of ‘Prisoner: Cell Block H’. A Chav will only settle for a Minger if he is too ugly, or doesn’t make enough money to attract himself a JEW Chavette. Mingers typically have 20 to 90% greater muscle mass than their Chav males. An unfortunate side effect of ugly Chavs breeding with Minger Chavettes is a brutal form of eugenics that will ensure each successive generation of Chav will be twice as ugly as their predecessors. The favored Minger hairstyle is the ‘Scrapeback’ where the hair is pulled back over the scalp and tied back so tightly that it pulls any wrinkles out of the Chavettes face. For this reason the Scrapeback is also known as The Council House Facelift. Minger Chavettes can exist solely on a diet of Chips and Mad Dog 20/20 as long as they have enough income to continually chain smoke the cheapest foulest cigarettes on earth Lambet & Butler Super-Kings. Minger Chavettes have an encyclopedic knowledge of the UK Social Security Benefits system that would be the envy of any welfare rights Lawyer, and are prolific breeders as Child Benefit forms the principal funding for their lottery scratch card and bingo addictions. The Minger Chavette’s ideal woman is Jade Goody, and her favorite TV show is the UK’s answer to Rickki Lake, ‘Trisha’. Like the JEW Chavette, Mingers also enjoy fine dining at McDonalds™, although they often feel uncomfortable and intimidated by such a highbrow environment, so usually settle for the traditional Chav delicacies, Pot Noodle, Kebab, or Beans on Toast.

Chav Transport

By far, the most amusing aspect of Chavdom is the cars they drive. A Chav’s car is the ultimate expression of his personality, and is the one great love of his life. Every spare penny the Chav gets isn’t spent on cannabis, booze or knock-off burberry clothing, must be spent on the Chavs car. Since Chavdom is primarily a ‘youth’ subculture, non but the highest earning and oldest Chavs can afford to own the kinds of car they aspire to. The UK vehicle insurance rates are prohibitively high for any little muppet like a chav to own a high performance vehicle, so most Chavs are forced to buy cheap second hand prole-moblies like Vauxhall Novas and Renault Clio’s. Obviously it is a great affront to the Chav ego to have to suffer driving the same kinds of car as their dads, so the Chav will go to absurd lengths to Mod his car. This becomes a dick size contest between rival Chavs as they try to outdo each other adding racing alloys, spoilers, sound systems and custom paint jobs to their little pre-owned suburban wagons, much to the amusement of every other road user. Just as the JEW Chavettes have their bibles, the Chav car owner has his, Max Power magazine a trite fusion of car customization and ‘Lads’ mags like FHM and Maxim (only with not so many big words). What need for words though when the pictures speak for themselves?



I’m indebted to the definitive source for all things Chav for many of the images used on this page.

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