Valley girl

Valley girl is a socioeconomic stereotype depicting a class of women characterized by the colloquial California English dialect Valleyspeak and materialism.

Originally referring to upper-middle class girls from the Los Angeles commuter communities of the San Fernando Valley during the 1980s,[1] the term in later years became more broadly applied to any female in the United States who embodied ditziness, airheadedness, or greater interest in conspicuous consumption than intellectual or personal accomplishment.[2]

In Los Angeles, "vals" (inhabitants of "the Valley") were derided for their perceived other-ness in the late 1970s. The phenomenon became nationally known in 1982, when 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.[3]

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, played by Alicia Silverstone, has been described as a caricature of 1990s Valley Girls, though she is actually from nearby Beverly Hills.[4][5][6][7]

In her 2015 memoir entitled Wildflower, actress Drew Barrymore says she talks "like a valley girl" because she lived in Sherman Oaks from the age of 7 to 14.[8]

See also


  1. Villarreal, Dan (1 December 2016). "Do I Sound Like a Valley Girl To You? Perceptual Dialectology and Language Attitudes in California". The Publication of the American Dialect Society. 101 (1): 57. doi:10.1215/00031283-3772901. ISSN 0002-8207.
  2. Demarest, Michael; Stanley, Alessandra (September 27, 1982). "Living: How Toe-dully Max Is Their Valley:. Time magazine.
  3. Watson, Ben (1994). Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play. Quartet Books. p. 396. ISBN 978-0-7033-7066-2.
  4. "Amy Irving". The Index-Journal. April 22, 1998. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  5. Alan Schwartz, Richard (2006). The 1990s. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9781438108803. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  6. Rothman, Lily (22 October 2012). "No Rebuttals: The Top 10 Movie Debate Scenes". Time. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  7. Hoffman, Jan (23 December 2013). "Overturning the Myth of Valley Girl Speak". New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  8. Barrymore, Drew (2015). Wildflower. New York: Dutton. pp. 2, 7. ISBN 9781101983799. OCLC 904421431. As if I had been lobotomized, we packed our things and moved into our new home, indeed in Sherman Oaks, in 1983. It's why I still talk like a valley girl. That cadence snuck into my life at that spongelike age of eight and never left.
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