Middle-class gays play bogan for kicks
A groundbreaking study that connects the under-researched dynamics of social class and sexuality has mapped the emerging fascination with all things ‘chav’ among middle-class homosexuals in Britain.
The study – to be published in a forthcoming article in the prestigious journal 'Sociology' – is by La Trobe Graduate School of Management academic Professor Gavin Jack and colleague Professor Joanna Brewis, University of Leicester, UK.
According to the research, there is a growing appetite amongst gay men for apparently downwardly mobile sexual experiences and encounters – known as ‘chavinism’.
Best translated as an Australian bogan, a chav is typically poor, usually young and either unemployed or working in a manual, or poorly remunerated occupation such as hairdressing, cleaning, bartending, security or checkout cashier. He is violent, takes drugs, smokes cigarettes, drinks excessive amounts of alcohol, eats junk food and is sexually promiscuous.
Professors Jack and Brewis detail the complex consumer patterns that emerge when middle-class homosexual men take up ‘chavinism’, including buying clothes in order to dress up as chavs, listening to or watching pre-recorded accounts of chavs having sex (eg, by downloading onto a mobile phone) or even seeking ‘real’ sex with tracksuit-wearing, baseball-cap-sporting youths.
This type of gay class tourism undermines the stereotype of the gay man as a cultured, bourgeois consumer par excellence.
The research pair identify a range of interesting, contradictory elements arising from this middle-class gay tourism; including the question of whether the fascination with chavs opens up the gay space for working class homosexual men or whether this fascination simply reinforces the all too familiar construct of the unselective male libido.
Professor Jack is now planning to conduct research in the Melbourne gay scene to explore its class dynamics, and whether a similar phenomenon of 'boganism' might exist in Australia
Professor Gavin Jack joined the La Trobe Graduate School of Management as a Professor of Management in March 2009. His research interests include international management issues, consumption and postcolonial organizational analysis.
Professor Gavin Jack
Phone: +61 3 9479 3137
Mobile: +61 466 149 038