Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Mystique Of The Bogan

The Mystique Of The Bogan

By Reiko Arisugawa-Bell
The Spirit News
September 1, 2075

The term bogan (/ˈboʊɡən/) is an Australian and New Zealand slang word that can be used to describe a person with a lower working-class background, or whose speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour exemplify a gratified working class mentality and depending on the context, can be pejorative or self-deprecating. The bogan person will generally lack sophistication and refinement.

Over the course of the last several decades, the bogan has become a very widespread and well recognised subculture, often as an example of bad taste. Various localised names exist that describe the same or very similar groups of people.

Bogans generally reside in the outer suburbs of larger cities, have teeth that haven't had braces or other orthodontia or dental care due to cost, have an anti-authoritarian stance, jingoism, home-done tattoos, a love of classic rock and Peter Brock, hooning and drinking alcohol to excess. A bogan attitude consists of a lot of pretence and a willingness to be brutally honest.

Certain types of clothing are stereotypically associated with bogans, including flannelette shirts, monkey hoodies, Stubbies shorts, King Gee workwear, thongs, ugg boots, jeans and black leggings. Bogans may also show a lowbrow standard of personal grooming by wearing their hair in a mullet style. Vehicles such as the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon, particularly modified or poorly maintained examples, also have similar associations.

A bogan, for various reasons, refuses to conform to middle-class standards of taste, dietary habits, leisure activities, styles of dress and ways of speaking. Bogans are sometimes looked down upon by some groups due to their implicit biases. These implicit biases can often make the lives of disadvantaged people much tougher.

Mel Campbell argued in a 2006 article in the Sydney Morning Herald that bogan (including "cashed-up bogan") is a nebulous, personal concept that is frequently used in a process by which "we use the idea of the bogan to quarantine ideas of Australianness that alarm or discomfort us. It's a way of erecting imaginary cultural barriers between 'us' and 'them'." Campbell argues that though many people believe they know exactly what a bogan is and what their characteristics might be, there is no defined set of characteristics of a bogan: the speaker imagines the denoted person to be different from, and less cultured than, themselves. Campbell considered "cashed-up bogan" to be a "stupid term". A similar argument is made by David Nichols, author of The Bogan Delusion (2011), who says that people have "created this creature that is a lesser human being to express their interclass hatred".

The term bogan has in recent times been employed more favourably to indicate a pride in being rough around the edges. In 2002, Michelle Griffin discussed the fact that ‘bogan’ is no longer just being used as an insult, but is in fact a way to identify with the ‘Aussie’ culture that many Anglo‐Saxon Australian citizens are so proud of. In the past, bogan was a term of disdain, but nowadays it has become cool to be a bogan. Radio station Triple J held a "National Bogan Day" on 28 June 2002, which they commemorated by playing music by bands such as Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil, Rose Tattoo and AC/DC. In a 2075 study, linguistics students at Leafa College found that the term was likely to be thought of as a good thing by people under the age of 30, compared with over 30's who generally felt it was more of a negative term.