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Girl Next Door
Girl Next Door

The cultural and sexual stereotype of the girl next door is invoked in American contexts to indicate wholesome, unassuming femininity, as opposed to the culture's other female stereotypes such as the tomboy, the valley girl, the femme fatale, girly girl, or the slut. The male equivalent is the "boy next door". An example of each is found in Thornton Wilder's Our Town, in the characters of Emily Webb and George Gibbs; or in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer series, in the characters of Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher.

In the idealised American context, falling in love with the "girl next door" is an archetypal romantic fiction. Unlike the femme fatale, the girl next door does not have hidden plans of her own, because her character and personality are open and straightforward, and because her social, economic, and sexual intentions do not need to be concealed. Unlike the princesse lointaine, she seldom is richer or of a higher social status than the boy protagonist. The girl next door likely is a girl whom the protagonist has known most of his life, but in the past could not appreciate the depth of his feelings for her because of his youth.

The girl next door is always physically in close range, yet simultaneously detached from the male protagonist (she need not literally live next door). She is the sweet-tempered girl he sees daily, a really great 'pal' friend, hence the "perfect" girl to take home to his parents. Often, she is a sexual virgin, and, because of that, her "innocent" manner is the façade of many American erotic fantasies portraying her "girl next door" image as the pretense behind which is the true, very sexually aggressive woman. The friction of these contradictions in the archetype is the key story theme in the film The Girl Next Door (2004).

Now that the literary concept has been explained, on to something slightly more relevant: A real girl may be described as a girl next door type if she fits enough of the characteristics of one.

They are more likely to keep up with trends than their male counterpart, although they still don't obbsess. The way a real girl next door dresses is still cute, feminine, and reasonably modest, without being overly girly. They often wear pastel colors, frilly tops, cardigans, shortish skirts, frilly dresses, and sandals. They probably belong to a charity of some description. They are sweet, innocent, kind, and somewhat naiive without going overboard. They listen to mainstream, cute, poppish music.

First three paragraphs from wikipedia, last two paragraphs by me, image from deviantart.


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