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Valley girl

Valley girl is a term coined in the 1970s. Originally identifying a woman 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 without actual meaning. 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" in a legitimate 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, England "Sloane Rangers" also associated with a haughty style of speech over-punctuated with terms considered (for the time being) chic or refined. That term is a wordplay on the fictional Lone Ranger cowboy, derived from the nearby Underground Station called Sloane Square[?].

In 1982 a Frank Zappa single entitled "Valley Girl", featuring his daughter Moon Unit, speaking typical Valley Girl phrases, became Zappa's only US Top 40 single.

In 1983 a film called "Valley Girl[?]" was released starring actor Nicholas Cage and actress Deborah Foreman[?].

Some performers from the era who personified and popularized the valley girl image include:

See also: up-speaking[?]

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