The Valley Girl in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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The stereotypical valley girl would have to be one of my longstanding favourite characters in both television and film. With the valley girl known for often being the quintessential popularity queen, it may not seem so obvious to include the Buffy we know today as part of the valley girl hall of fame. But one only has to go back to the 1992 film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer to observe the full extent of Buffy’s bleach blonde valley girl roots. To place Buffy within the larger category of the valley girl, first one must have an understanding of what exactly this means. Undoubtedly, the valley girl is a product of the eighties, or at least a character that was crystallised and labelled during this period, and she has been a significant presence in teen films and television ever since. It has come to my attention that there has been a definite change, or evolution over the last two decades, of the living, breathing barbie doll otherwise known as the valley girl. And, it seems, this evolution of the valley girl within teen film and television can be traced through the character of Buffy Summers, starting from her first appearance on the big screen in 1992. For my purposes, the term “valley girl” is useful in reference to a limited spectrum of popular teen girls in film and television, who, despite originating in name from the location of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, [1] are not strictly limited or restricted to being natives of this particular site. Often alarmingly oblivious to many basic concepts of social etiquette, the valley girl is the ultra-feminine, two-dimensional character identified by an abundance of material possessions and surface features that are highly prized by herself and her peers. Some of the basic, essential signifiers of the valley girl can be extracted from examination of valley girls over time who have manipulated the following: 1) POPULARITY: which is often directly linked to the valley girl also being a cheerleader (often team captain, of course) and/or prom queen. Although, sometimes basic popularity is pure and simple enough. 2) CASH SUPPLY: generous funds, namely daddy’s credit card, often help with gaining or retaining popular status, and is especially important for it’s contribution to the following, 3) THE WARDROBE: often filled with the latest fashion trends and designer labels. The valley girl must be well-versed in knowing what is now, retro, and the dreaded zone of “five minutes ago.

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