April 21st, 2004


userinfo senji
2004/04/21 10:16:00 - Popular Culture?
Why is it that popular culture, particularly Holywood!American popular culture is so obsessed with the "Girl Next-Door"?
Current Mood: [mood icon] morning

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userinfo fluffymormegil
2004/04/21 02:20:25
Because she's "attainable", and because she's the subject of teenage sexual fantasy.
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2004/04/21 02:24:09
She is?

It seems implausible to me that any sizable percentage of teenagers can live next to a teenager of the appropriate sex, and similar age, as well.

Certainly I never did (even before I was a teenager).

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userinfo fluffymormegil
2004/04/21 02:26:00
There are whole swathes of American suburbia containing mostly families of similar sorts of age etc.
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 02:49:52
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userinfo teleute
2004/04/21 09:13:56
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 09:46:17
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userinfo mtbc100
2004/04/21 10:32:31
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userinfo ex_lark_asc
2004/04/21 02:27:08
You missed the "impossibly good-looking" bit as well..
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 02:50:09
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userinfo andrewwyld
[userpic]
2004/04/21 02:33:00
I guess girl down the street doesn't have the same ring to it.
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 02:51:46
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userinfo andrewwyld
2004/04/21 02:54:49
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 03:02:49
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userinfo mina_laury
2004/04/21 03:05:34
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 03:07:35
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userinfo mina_laury
2004/04/21 03:11:17
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 03:14:21
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userinfo simont
2004/04/21 03:25:26
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 03:33:38
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userinfo teleute
2004/04/21 09:16:16
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userinfo pavanne
[userpic]
2004/04/21 04:34:49
I'm not sure it has to be actually next door. Across the street will do as well.

Certainly I lived near enough to several males my age to count them as neighbours.
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userinfo theinquisitor
[userpic]
2004/04/21 05:19:59
Our garden (making up the middle of a block, and thus adjoining rather a lot of gardens) backed onto the gardens of (approximately) three girls of about my age.

Of course, I had known them since age not-a-lot so there wasn't a great deal of glamour and mystery going, there.

As for bedrooms being lookable-into, they try to prevent it when issuing planning permission, these days - but I've certainly seen older houses where it would have been possible. A pair of high-rise appartment blocks being the stereotype, of course.
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 08:05:02
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userinfo theinquisitor
2004/04/21 08:20:35
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 08:33:54
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userinfo mina_laury
[userpic]
2004/04/21 03:01:23
I always assumed it was a 'The right person will turn out to have been right there all along without me having to make any scary effort!' comfort thing.

That or something to do with adolescent peering through conveniently located bathroom windows. I have no idea.

We mostly seemed to live next door to retired Army people and retired policemen, and by the time a family with children moved in next door I was fifteen and the eldest of them was about four.
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2004/04/21 03:04:51
'The right person will turn out to have been right there all along without me having to make any scary effort!'

That's a bit depressing...

That or something to do with adolescent peering through conveniently located bathroom windows. I have no idea.

Noone actually builds houses like that, do they?
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userinfo fluffymormegil
2004/04/21 03:07:30
Plenty of streets in suburban America where every house was built by a different builder to a different plan :)
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 03:08:57
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userinfo fluffymormegil
2004/04/21 03:36:44
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userinfo phoenixandy
2004/04/21 05:08:50
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 08:05:38
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userinfo phoenixandy
2004/04/21 08:21:36
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userinfo senji
2004/04/21 08:33:21
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userinfo teleute
2004/04/21 09:19:16
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userinfo pavanne
[userpic]
2004/04/21 04:37:54
It's got a wholesome ring to it. Probably because the Girl Next Door was bound to be from much the same social stratum as you, so generally "suitable".
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userinfo atreic
[userpic]
2004/04/21 05:00:02
Have just noticed that your journal is called "squaring the circle" and mine is "at the round earths imagined corners"

Ok, it wasn't that interesting an observation. As far as the girl-next-door thing, what said. Only it has extra connotations of "be happy with your lot, and the best things usually arn't what you think they are", ie plots where teenage boy tries to pull snotty trendy very attractive prom queens, assisted by girl-next-door best friend who secretly likes him but really wants to help him be happy, at which point boy realises awful girl is awful and girl-next-door takes off her geeky glasses and lets her hair down and he realises he's loved her all along.
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userinfo teleute
[userpic]
2004/04/21 09:21:16
you've seen all the movies we watch! oh wait, they just all have the same plot...

For entertainment, I recommend 'Not Another Teen Movie', although it does help if your SO is as obsessed with teen movies as much as mine, because then you can guarantee to have seen 90% of the movies parodied.
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userinfo gioiaverdi
[userpic]
2004/04/21 05:48:19
Despite the unfeasibly good-looking actor thing you see on TV, the concept "girl next door" (as opposed to the daughter of your neighbour) comes from early Hollywood days is supposed to refer to somebody like Judy Garland, somebody who's attractive in an understated way, but emphatically is *not* glamourous. She's supposed to be warm and friendly,trusting and slightly innocent - somebody you can feel comfortable with, and believe she might go out with you if you asked her, and your parents would approve. In other words, she's the girls you grew up with ditilled to an ideal.

This was all explained to me when I was 19 by a man who was reassuring me that I'd make an ideal kissogram girl, because I was the girl-next-door type while he was taking my photograph for the agency album ... dressed in a red basque, stockings, high heels, top hat and bow-tie. Presumably therefore, she's also the girl whose drainpipe you clmb up to peek in while she's gettng changed.
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userinfo sion_a
[userpic]
2004/04/21 09:36:01
It seems to me that there are three distinct concepts being covered by "the girl next door":

  1. As an expression of the value that what is best for you is to be found at home, or with homespun simplicity, and that seeking the bright lights and glamour may be superficially more attractive but the results are at best meaningless and at worst harmful. This is what atreic covers. And note gioiaverdi's choice of Judy Garland -- The Wizard of Oz is this value distilled into film. The "girl next door" here is simply someone from your hometown.
  2. Hollywood's unsubtle symbolization of the above, by making the "girl next door" literally from next door. The original intent has probably been lost in the use of a popular concept to keep the audience comfortable and unstretched, hence blindly propagating its popularity.
  3. The "girl next door" fantasy sex object, as gioiaverdi says. I suspect that like most fetish-personnae there's no pat explanation. Although it's interesting to note that most such are explicitly "forbidden" -- as fluffymormegil notes, a significant point of the "girl next door" (in other contexts) is that she is not out of reach. As with the first case, though, she is someone who could be living next door, not necessarily someone who is.


The house I was born in had a girl two years younger than me next door, and one one year older round-the-corner but with adjoining gardens. She (and her family) moved to two doors away from us shortly after we moved, and there was another girl her age in the house between. And a few years after that, a family with a girl my age moved in a further two doors up. After I'd mostly left home, a family with twin girls my age moved into the house opposite my parents (although one of the twins had also flown the coop by then).
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Popular Culture? - Squaring the circle...

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