Valley girl

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For other uses, see Valley girl (disambiguation).

Valley girl is a stereotype depicting a socio-economic class of 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 commuter towns 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.[1]


A sociolect associated with valley girls termed "Valleyspeak" spoke in the San Fernando valley in the 1980s. Qualifiers such as "like", "whatever", "way", "as if!", "totally" and "tubular" (a surfing term) are 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.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

The height of the "Valley Girl" period was during 1982-83, with several films, shows and music of the New Wave era embodying the "Valley" atmosphere of the San Fernando Valley during that time.

In 1982, composer Frank Zappa released the single "Valley Girl", with his 14-year-old daughter Moon Unit speaking typical "Valley Girl" phrases. Zappa intended to lampoon the image, but after the song's release there was a significant increase in the "Valspeak" slang usage, whether ironically spoken or not.[2]

The 1982-83 CBS TV show Square Pegs featured Tracy Nelson playing Jennifer DeNuccio, a popular Valley Girl at the high school.

The 1983 film Valley Girl starring Nicolas Cage centered on a group of "Valley Girl" characters and featured several characterizations associated with their lifestyle (such as going shopping at the mall or "Galleria," suntanning at the beach, and going to parties).

The protagonist of the 1995 film Clueless has been described as a caricature of 1990s "Valley Girls," though she is actually from nearby Beverly Hills.[3][4][5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michael Demarest, Michael;Stanley, Alessandra (September 27, 1982(. "Living: How Toe-dully Max Is Their Valley:. Time magazine.
  2. ^ Watson, Ben (1994). Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play. Quartet Books. p. 396. ISBN 978-0-7033-7066-2. 
  3. ^ "Amy Irving". The Index-Journal. April 22, 1998. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Alan Schwartz, Richard (2006). The 1990s. Infobase Publishing. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Rothman, Lily (22 October 2012). "No Rebuttals: The Top 10 Movie Debate Scenes". (Time). Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Hoffman, Jan (23 December 2013). "Overturning the Myth of Valley Girl Speak". (New York Times). Retrieved 8 April 2015. 

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