Banning chav costumes? I’m offended...

As a working-class student, there are many things that worry me. Deadlines, budgeting and balancing a work and social life all weigh on my mind. In fact, these are things that concern most students. One thing that isn’t keeping me up at night is a chav-themed social. But, according to Bristol Students’ Union (BSU), it should be.

The BSU equalities officer has reprimanded the Bristol cheerleading society for planning a chav-themed social. Apparently, dressing up as a chav is ‘appropriating working-class culture’. And, as we have seen countless times in cases of campus censorship, the society has had to back down and cancel the event. Middle-class outrage has prevented students from having a bit of fun.

I have a message for BSU officers: how dare you presume being a ‘chav’ is part of my culture. How dare you think that because I am working class, I will be scared and offended by a little piss-taking fancy dress. To my mind, the truly offensive thing about this entire debacle is the fact that students – many of whom are working class – are being told what they can and cannot wear. Even though the organisers of the social pointed out to the offended officer that they themselves were working class, BSU decided that it knew best.

This cultural policing needs to stop – it’s patronising and insulting. No one owns a copyright to a culture. I know this may come as a shock to some students’ union officers, but some middle-class people like to relax in tracksuit bottoms and a hoodie. Are they appropriating working-class culture? Would I be appropriating middle-class culture if I turned up suited and booted to a black-tie event? No, of course not. People should be free to wear whatever they damn well like.

Never mind the cheerleaders, the BSU officers are the real snobs here. These white knights protesting against so-called cultural appropriation don’t give a damn about what working-class students want. No, they only care about their virtue-signalling crusade to implement what they think is acceptable forms of fun on campus. This means clamping down on banter, jokes, and now, Vicky Pollard-style get-ups.

So, students, dress up in whatever the hell you like. You’re adults at university. If someone tells you you can’t dress like a chav, tell them to do one.

Ieuan Joy is a writer and student.

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