Hello! I am v interested in the chav discourse that you mentioned in your tags (and also in the weird fandom discourse about Harry being 'posh', which I find really strange though I think it comes from a misunderstanding of what 'posh' actually signifies). I think of 'chav' and 'chavvy' as slur words so always do a double-take when I see them used even in a neutral way. To me it implies working-classness but also (potential) petty criminality - so it's really not a term to use of someone else -1
I think Louis’s athleisure looks are all about the audience he is trying to reach with his EDM collaborations, and that audience is much wider than a UK one which might understand his look as communicating his working-classness… (I know you weren’t using ‘chav’ lightly, I hope my previous didn’t suggest that - I’d be off anon if I wasn’t at work! my url is kit-catclub. would love to discuss with you as I always appreciate your views) 2
Thanks for your ask! I’ve been hoping for an ask to help focus my incoherent rage at the way people have been talking about Louis and about working-class people. I won’t really be able to touch on Harry - except I think what’s going on is his original position as the posh one in One Direction (which I wrote about here) has overlapped with people’s feelings about him the most celebrity member of One Direction - when as you say they’re very different.
I think the best way to explain my reaction to the way people have been using the word ‘chav’ is with a metaphor. Lets imagine girl direction for a moment - and instead of people worrying that Louis is coming across as a ‘chav’ people are worried that girl!Louis is coming across as a slut. People write elaborate asks about how they’re worried that certain things she’s doing will make her come across as a slut and damage her reputation. Anons talk about how her styling is creating a certain image and they want her to wear different clothes because the general public might think she was a slut - and that erases successful businesswoman!Louis and superstar!Louis.
I think most fans would recognise this as quite hateful rhetoric - not just about girl!Louis, but about women more generally. Chav isn’t just a slur, because it’s a bad thing to suggest about someone, it’s a slur because it conveys a hateful view about a group of people. People who loudly worry that someone your a fan of is being forced to come across as a slut - you are promoting a hateful view of women. People who loudly worry that Louis is coming across as a ‘chav’ are promoting a hateful view of working-class people.
I’m being a little bit kinder than I feel here, because I’m aware that some of B’s anons could be very young and repeating ideas that they haven’t fully processed. But someone actually used the phrase ‘You can take the boy out of Doncaster, but you can’t take Doncaster out of the boy’ (although they didn’t say Doncaster). And that view is vile and vile is the nicest thing I could say about it (I’ve just been reading the report of the Hillsborough independant inquiry - I would actually say that such a view is murderous).
People who are like - oh it’s so terrible that Louis is seen in public eating McDonalds and wearing trackpants and smoking - that ruins his image - can pretend all they like that they’re just talking about public image - but they’re actually judging Louis. There is every reason to think that he does in fact smoke, eat McDonalds and wear trackpants. (And they’re also revealing that they have monstrous, abhorrent, snobbish views - but I sort of covered that already).
The other thing I want to say about this whole mess is to talk directly about what ‘chav’ means. People have been prepared to throw out some really specific signifiers of things that Louis (and even worse Lottie) are doing that makes them come across as ‘Chavs’. It is smoking and McDonalds and Trackpants and airport fights. Just like the term sluts is fundamentally criticising unruly women - the term chavs is criticising unruly working-class people. All those signifiers are things that are contrary to good middle class ideas of what moral citizens look like (I’m not going to expand on this idea now - although I could go on for some time - but I think Charlie Brooker nails it in this piece about Jamie Oliver). The implication of Louis coming across as a ‘chav’ isn’t just that he’s coming across as working-class - but he’s coming across as a working-class person who is disgusting and dangerous because he won’t do what he’s told. (I’m going to park the question of Louis’ actual class position then or now and how that relates to all this - this post is about image).
This is a really interesting contrast to One Direction - who were very much launched in in the UK in the immediate aftermath of the London riots - as working-class boys made good who were compliant and would perform for middle-class people (I go more into that idea here). It’s a very different positioning from where they started - so I can see why it makes people anxious - but I have a very different reaction.
I am very much in favour of unruly working-class people, just as I am very much in favour of unruly women. I don’t know, I don’t think we can know, where Louis image is coming from, how he’s positioning himself, what various pressures he is navigating or what he feels about it. But I’m certainly not going to suggest that an image of compliance and willingness to perform for power is somehow better than an unruly image.
Real talk: Killian’s new jacket is significantly bulkier than his old leather jacket. Is he actually going to take it off when he’s indoors? Or is he going to trudge around in what would definitely qualify as a winter coat while chilling inside?
I literally haven’t stopped shaking since I found out several hours ago what’s going on with my friend (that’s concerning I may have an actual health issue oh well) and it’s just urging me to write this lgbtq+ post apocalyptic novel…
“When the MUSTER first started I didn’t feel much emotions but when we sang 2! 3!, J suddenly realised that the stage has really become a lot bigger. It made me think of when we just debut-ed and also how we came so far and how we could stand on such a big performing stage. I’m really thankful to all ARMYs and hopefully in the future, the days will be filled with happy events. We’re really thankful to be able to sing at such a big venue after promotions. Thank you”