Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Valley girl is a term coined in the 1970s. Originally identifying some women who lived in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, California, it morphed into a much more involved stereotype in the 1980s. During that time, the Valley girl look - a combination of pastel and neon colours, ruffles and lace, tutus and leggings and bodysuits - was very popular. A valley girl is typically thought to be ditzy, or totally airheaded. She is characterised as blonde-haired, probably dyed, and is sometimes portrayed as hyper-sexual.
A certain dialect of speech became associated with Valley girls; it was known as "Val-speak." During the 1980s it was very common to hear everyday teenagers using val-speak. Words like "like," "way," "totally" and "duh" were interjected in the middle of phrases and sentences as emphasizers. Narrative sentences were often spoken as if they were questions (high rising terminal). Some of the slang included:
- "Barf me out!" ("That's disgusting.")
- "Fer sure." ("Definitely.")
- "Totally." ("Yes." or "Definitely." or "Very much.")
- "Gag me with a spoon"
A book was written called How to De-Program Your Valley Girl (ISBN 0894802399) in an attempt by parents to try to cull what they thought was a damaging trend. There is some similarity with the somewhat derogatory term used for single women living in spacious expensive apartments in localised parts of west London. "Sloane Rangers" are also associated with a haughty style of speech punctuated with terms considered chic or refined. That term is a wordplay on the fictional Lone Ranger cowboy, derived from the nearby Underground Station called Sloane Square.
In 1983 the film Valley Girl was released starring actor Nicolas Cage and actress Deborah Foreman. This movie became a hit of its time for both up-and-coming actor Cage, and its soundtrack of New Wave music, whose popularity peaked at that time.
Some performers from the era who personified and popularized the Valley Girl image include:
- Julie Brown
- Brooke Theiss (Just the Ten of Us)
- Karyn Parsons
- Amy Jo Johnson when she portrayed Kimberly Hart on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
- Alicia Silverstone in her breakthrough role as Cher Horowitz in classic 90s teen movie Clueless
Fictional Valley Girls
- Cher Horowitz from Clueless
- Kimberly Hart from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
- Hilary Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
- The always-meditating duck girl from Tiny Toon Adventures, Shirley the Loon.
- Eris from Grim and Evil (Madonna-like accent switch).
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