Valley girl is a stereotype depicting a socio-economic class of white women characterized by the colloquial California English dialect Valleyspeak and vapid materialism. The term originally referred to an ever increasing swell of semi-affluent and affluent middle-class and upper-middle class girls living in the early 1980s Los Angeles bedroom communities of the San Fernando Valley.
In time the traits and behaviors spread across the United States and Canada, metamorphosing into a caricature of unapologetically spoiled "ditzes" and "airheads" more interested in shopping, personal appearance and social status than intellectual development or personal accomplishment.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2012)|
A sociolect associated with valley girls termed "Valleyspeak" spread across the United States during the 1980s and 1990s, heavily populating high-school teenage female slang throughout. 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 if questions using a high rising terminal. Heavily accented words were spoken with high variation in pitch combined with very open or nasal vowel sounds.
In popular culture
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 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, much to Zappa's frustration. There was a significant increase in the "Valspeak" slang usage, whether ironically spoken or not.
- Bobby soxer
- California English
- Dumb blonde
- Essex girl
- Fjortis, used to describe similar behavior in Scandinavian youth
- Fresa, the Mexican equivalent, literally translated into English as "strawberry"
- Jewish princess
- Julie Brown, among the performers from the era who personified and popularized the valley girl image
- Kogal and Ganguro, Japanese equivalents
- Pissis, a Finnish expression for female youth behaving in a similar manner
- Queen bee
- San Fernando Valley
- School diva
- Sloane ranger
- Valley Girl, song by Frank Zappa