Valley girl  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The term Valley Girl originally referred to rich teen-aged girls and young women living in the neighborhoods of the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, California. Val is the short-hand form of the term.

During the 1980s and the 1990s, the term metamorphosed into a caricature and stereotype of such women: a "ditzy" or "airhead" personality, and unapologetically "spoiled" behaviour that showed more interest in shopping, personal appearance, and social status, rather than in intellectual development or personal accomplishment.

The prototypical Valley Girl is a white blonde (not necessarily natural), but the "Val" has evolved along with demographic changes, with the term applying to all such girls and women, regardless of their race. The typical Valley Girl is considered very pretty, personally attractive, and sexually promiscuous.

Contents

Sociolect

Main article: Valspeak

A certain sociolect associated with Valley Girls, referred to as “Valspeak,” became common across the United States during the 1980s and 1990s, and much entered teenage slang throughout the country.

Qualifiers such as “like”, “whatever”, “way”, "as if!", “totally” and “duh” were interjected in the middle of phrases and sentences as emphasizers. Narrative sentences were often spoken as though they were questions using a high rising terminal.

Valspeak is often spoken with a heavy accent sometimes associated with Californians. Words are spoken with high variation in pitch combined with very open or nasal vowel sounds.

Examples:

  • Like - Used as an interjection. "Like that was so, like, oh my God."
  • As if – lit. "yeah, right" or "as if" except it does not use a subject; expresses disbelief.
  • Bitchin' - adj. slang for excellent; first-rate. Though a derivative of "bitch", bitchin' is not considered profane.
  • Whatever! - short for "whatever you say"; sarcastic interjection often emphasizing the "r".
  • Barf me out! - "So disgusting it makes me want to vomit."
  • Fer shur – lit. "For sure"
  • Betch – lit. "Bitch"
  • Totally – "I agree" or "completely."
  • Grody to the max! – "As gross as he/she/it can be"
  • Like, oh my God – can be used many ways; expresses shock.
  • I’m suuure! or I'm so sure – "I'm absolutely positive," but usually used sarcastically.
  • Tre - A synonym for "very" (derived from French "très")
  • Trippendicular! - It can mean either "awesome" or a drug high.
  • Betty - An attractive woman
  • So - Very; used frequently and said with strong emphasis.
  • Baldwin - An attractive man.
  • Seriously - Frequent interjection of approval.
  • Gag me with a spoon! - expression of disgust.
  • Gnarly - Good.
  • Joanie - An unhip girl
  • I'm outtie - "I'm out of here".
  • Tubular - Very cool.
  • UV's - Sunshine (e.g. "I'm heading down to the beach to catch some UV's")
  • Are you serious?- expression of surprise. Commonly phrased with both hands on the hips, eyebrows raised and a shocked facial expression.

Similar phenomena

Similar phenomena were registered around the globe in books, movies and on television. In diverse places such as Russia, Japan, Ethiopia, and Pakistan, parent movements and religious organizations were formed against this culture.Template:Citation needed Specifically, the upward inflection sentence was the most marked symptom of the global Valley Girl, marking these girls as part of the new global culture, saved mostly for the privileged.Template:Citation needed

United Kingdom

There is some similarity between the phenomenon of a Valley Girl in the United States and the concept of an Essex girl, although the stereotype emphasis is more on promiscuity and below-average intelligence. A perhaps closer equivalent would be the wealthier and generally upper-middle or upper class Sloane Ranger; a widely lampooned stereotype associated with Sloane Square in the Chelsea area of central London

In Wales, the term Valley girl is used to refer to a girl from the valleys (an area in South Wales running north from the coast between Newport and Llanelli). These do not stereotypically share characteristics with the US Valley Girl.

Ireland

In Dublin, the term D4 is used to refer to a similar stereotype applied to young girls and guys from South Dublin. Dublin 4 or "D4" includes affluent upper-class areas such as Donnybrook, Blackrock, Ballsbridge and Belfield. Many are associated with hanging in groups in Dundrum Town Centre which is an up-market shopping centre on the Southside. Many wear American "preppy" clothing brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, American Eagle and Aeropostale even though such stores don't exist currently in the Republic of Ireland. Girls are portrayed by having peroxide blonde hair, wearing Ugg boots and wearing excessive fake tan which makes their skin look orange. The guys are often seen with bleached "surfer" style hair, wearing Abercrombie hoodies and Canterbury bottoms. The growing Irish rugby obsession can often be attributed to the long time South Dublin promotion of the sport. Generally female D4 heads as they are locally known attend such private schools as Mount Anville, Alexandra College and any of the Loreto schools with their male counterparts receiving their second level education at institutions including Blackrock College, Leeson Street grind school (co-ed) and Clongowes Wood College located in Co. Kildare. Many go on to study at University College Dublin located in Dublin 4 itself and Trinity College Dublin. Famous 'D4's' include fictional character Ross O'Carroll Kelly, presenter Ryan Tubridy and international rugby player Brian O'Driscoll.

Texas

In Texas, the term "Valley Girl" is often colloquially used to refer to a woman from the Rio Grande Valley, from the far southern areas around McAllen and Brownsville.Template:Citation needed The term, of course, became more popular when the California term gained nationwide attention (i.e. because of the contrast with this term).Template:Citation needed

California

In the Greater Los Angeles area, the term "Valley Girl" originated and still refers to girls from the San Fernando Valley. In context it is associated with a spoiled girl from an upper-middle class background who socializes with other "valley girls" in cliques. In regions neighboring the San Fernando Valley, people will often call a girl a "valley girl" or tell her to "go back to the valley" if she is showing signs of materialism and/or idiotic behavior.

Hungary

Two exclusive neighborhoods in Budapest, Rózsadomb and Pasarét are traditionally regarded as breeding grounds for upper (middle) class spoiled brats, including arrogant Valley girl types. Their affluence and lifestyle are comparable to those of Californian Valley girls. There is a huge income disparity between the parents of these teens/twixters and those of the majority in Budapest, especially in Pest. Template:Facts

In pop culture

Music

  • In 1982, composer Frank Zappa released the album Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch. The album featured the single "Valley Girl", with his 14 year old daughter Moon Unit (who supplied Frank with much of the content) speaking typical "Valley Girl" phrases. Zappa intended to lampoon the image, but the single also popularized the valley girl stereotype nationwide, and, to a lesser extent, throughout the English-speaking world. There was a significant increase in the "Valspeak" slang usage, whether ironically spoken or notTemplate:Citation needed.
  • Pop singer Tiffany uses the Valspeak as part of her song Mr Mambo.

Film

  • In 1983, the feature film Valley Girl was released starring actor Nicolas Cage and actress Deborah Foreman. Besides featuring the up-and-coming actor Cage, the movie contains a soundtrack of New Wave music, which was at the peak of its popularity at that time. The film's producers had initially approached Frank Zappa to ask him if they could make a film based on his song. Zappa refused, and the filmmakers wound up making the film anyway. Zappa attempted to sue over the obvious capitalization on his song, but the lawsuit was thrown out.Template:Citation neededAnother movie was Clueless, using many of the terms above.

Television

  • Several alternate takes of scenes from the series House M.D. exist in which actors Lisa Edelstein and Jennifer Morrison, as a joke, act out serious sequences as Valley Girls. These "gag takes" are included on DVDs of the show.
  • Sweet Valley High can also be considered an example, although while the main characters exhibit the physical characteristics of a Valley Girl, academic pursuits are considered of merit.
  • Clover from the animated series Totally Spies portrays traits and uses terms associated with the stereotypical Valley Girl.
  • Main character, Cher Horowitz (Clueless) perpetuates Valspeak by using the words "like," "as if," "whatever" and "duh" an exorbitant amount throughout the film. When referring to attractive men and women, Cher uses the terms "Betty" and "Baldwin." Considering the film's release in 1995 and the resurgence of such terms in southern California youth in the years following, it could be credited with bridging the gap between the '80s Valspeak and today's.
  • Kimberly Hart from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (played by Amy Jo Johnson) was originally a valley girl in the first season, and shows hints at being one in the later seasons before Amy's departure from the series.
  • Hilliary Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air is another good example even although she might be considered upper-upper class.

Shops

  • In the early 1980s, Hollywood films and songs portrayed the female-dominated mall lifestyle in the San Fernando Valley. The Sherman Oaks Galleria was perhaps best known as the home of the Valley Girl, since this San Fernando Valley mall was where Fast Times at Ridgemont High was filmed in 1981. (Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1985 movie, Commando, was shot there, too.) The mall was featured throughout Fast Times at Ridgemont High, beginning with the opening scenes of the film, which starts with an elevator ride up to the food court where the young Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Judge Reinhold worked at the fast food stands. However, despite its popularity with stars like Molly Ringwald and Janet Jackson, business at the Galleria began to decline significantly during the 1990s. The 1994 Northridge earthquake caused extensive damage to the structure and served only to accelerate the vacancy rate. The remnants of the building were razed in 1999, and in 2002, the Sherman Oaks Galleria reopened as a markedly different open-air facility that now serves as home to several Warner Brothers offices, mortgage companies, restaurants, a movie theater, and a 24-Hour Fitness center.

List of fictional Valley girls

Film

Animation

Television

Video games

Literature

Commercials

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Valley girl" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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