fauxgan - noun: a person with some of the characteristics of a bogan, but who is considered not to be a real one; a fake bogan.

An interesting term appeared in the title of a recent opinion piece: ‘He’s a fauxgan not a bogan, but Scott Morrison’s blue-collar drag is brilliant marketing.’ The article describes the public persona of the Australian prime minister:

Morrison knows he needs our bogan votes to remain prime minister…. So with his protesteth-too-much Cronulla Sharks fandom, his baseball caps, beer-swilling and ‘cars with grunt’ persona, Morrison has rebranded as ‘Scomo’ the fauxgan, and gone full working-class drag. (Guardian Australia, 18 October 2019)

The word fauxgan—rhymes with bogan—is a blend of faux ‘not genuine; fake or false’ and bogan ‘a person who is regarded as uncultured or unsophisticated’. While faux is a borrowing from French, bogan is an Australian English word (recorded from the early 1980s) that has become a significant term in Australian culture.

Bogan is usually regarded as a derogatory term, used to pass judgement on a person’s dress, class, or behaviour. An early reference illustrates this:

Bevans and bogans. This group is characterised by their common dress .. tight T-shirts with a logo relating to the brand of car they drive or detest, old blue jeans, ugh boots (replaced by thongs in summer and the obligatory packet of cigarettes shoved up one T-shirt sleeve. (Brisbane Courier-Mail, 7 July 1988)

Although fashions may have changed, and ugg (or ugh) boots and thongs are now regarded as Australian icons, snobbery and judgement are still common in the use of the term bogan. However, perceptions have shifted over time. While it originally referred to a person with a lower socio-economic status, bogan now often speaks more to a cultural identity or way of life. Just like the earlier idealisation of the Australian larrikin, the bogan is now a type that we celebrate and gently satirise in, for example, TV shows such as Bogan Pride and Upper Middle Bogan.

With the increase in popularity of this once maligned character, people are now quick to point out the ‘fake’ bogan – the fauxgan. An early example of the word’s use highlights some non-bogan characteristics of one of these ‘imposters’:

But the more I see of Clare, the more I doubt her bogan authenticity. For a start, she's called Clare. And she said ‘you're welcome’ to the cameraman instead of ‘sweet’ or ‘no wuckas’. She's a fauxgan. If she's a real bogan she'll do a shoot for Ralph or Zoo. (Sydney Daily Telegraph, 30 May 2009)

Another light-hearted piece makes a similar suggestion—that some people are ‘boganing’ it up to enhance their credentials as genuine Aussies:

You all know them. The Fauxgan really wants to act and sound like a Bogan, so they can be considered by their peers to be much more authentically ‘Aussie’. They talk like they are going for a casting in a new lamb ad, even though they have been raised to speak in the softest of vowel sounds. (Stellar, 8 October 2017)

Our attitude to bogan and its meaning continues to evolve, indicating the uncertain relationship Australians have with class and privilege. Evidence now indicates that people from a relatively privileged background, such as Scott Morrison, may be classed as bogans, if they display certain characteristics thought to be typical. But for some commentators they can never really be bogans:

Russell Crowe is the perfect example of a fauxgan. Grew up in Vaucluse, educated in top schools - certainly not a true bogan. But his love of VB, rugby league, those hideous Shane Warne style wrap around sunglasses, Winnie Blues, and hideous polyester tracksuits scream bogan. (Essential Baby, 7 August 2010)

Fauxgan will be considered for inclusion in the next edition of the Australian National Dictionary.




Updated:  30 April 2020/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications