Female stereotypes have gotten a lot more involved since the dawn of the dumb blonde joke. These days, it's tough to take on any identity at all without being pigeonholed into a certain trend or category. As a testament to women the world over who choose to define femininity on their own terms, we present you with an alphabetical list of 26 female subcultures. Some of these terms still have their negative connotations, but who knows how they'll be interpreted in a decade or two?
A is for Alay (Indonesia)
Alay is allegedly a portmanteau of the Indonesian word for "kiteflyer," which is a pseudo-insult to someone who spends her days outside, getting sunburnt and doing trivial things like flying kites. Alay girls are best known for their writing style, wHiCh, DoN't H8! TyPiCaLlY lOoKs LiKe Dis, and which may or may not give you vertigo.
B is for Bimbo (America)
The words "blonde" and "bimbo" are synonymous, though the word "bimbo" wasn't always a negative one — at first, it simply meant "woman." Though it typically means a brainless ditz in English, it's used as a term of endearment to children in Italian. The connection between this stereotype and the popular brand of Mexican loafed bread remains unknown.
C is for Chavette (British)
The origin of the word "chav," along with the female "chavette," has classicist, snobbish roots, but many of the trend's followers have simply shrugged off the negative press and kept their Burberry caps aslant. In fact, British shows like Misfits and Doctor Who have made Chav characters into superheros.
D is for Dumb Blonde (American)
E is for Essex Girl (British)
The term "Essex man" doesn't have really negative connotations, but surprise surprise, the female version has become a British variation on the dumb blonde. The Essex Girl loves bandage dresses and spindly heels and would probably get along swimmingly with the stereotypical American sorority sister.
F is for Fjortis (Sweden)
Fjortis are teens who happen to share a propensity for self tanner and duck lips. More common in the Myspace days, these girls have made it big enough to be included in the 13th edition of the Swedish Academy dictionary.
G is for Ganguro (Japan)
Self-tanner strikes again. The ganguro trend originated in a Japanese folk tale about a mountain witch, and teens have adapted it to include blinged out nails and pink and silver hair. Check out the group's fashion bible: Egg Magazine.
H is for Harajuku Girl (Japan)
The trend has experienced a slight downturn after Gwen Stefani's unsavory obsession with the girls as her sidekicks/quasi-slaves, but the Harajuku area of Tokyo is still a hotspot for people-watching. And you can see some of the the Harakuju trends translated to an even more extreme level via Nicki Minaj.
I is for Indie (America)
Rather than invoke the dreaded H-word (rhymes with "yipster"), we went with the catch-all "indie" term, which has become so vague it can be applied to anything that has a bird on it. Indie chicks are most dangerous when they're appropriating objects from ethnic groups for the sake of fashion. Once again, Gwen Stefani is guilty as charged.
J is for Jejemon (Philippines)
Very similar to alay, Jejemon culture grew out of text messaging culture; its practitioners know no word that can't be shortened beyond recognition. By creating a colorful melting pot of English and Tagalog, they formed their own variant of Taglish, leaving parents and teachers completely in the dark.
K is for Kawaii (Japan)
There have been many studies as to whether the prevalence of cute culture (ie: Hello Kitty, giggling school girls, obsessively darling stationary) in Japan is a form of revenge against the straight-laced, often suffocating ways of traditional Japanese culture. Kawaii, Japanese for "cute" or "lovable" may be taking that concept to its extreme.
L is for Lolita (Japan)
I don't think this is exactly what Nabokov had in mind when he was describing the fire of his loins, but the Japanese fashion trend is more little bo beep than lo-lee-ta. Obsessed with anything ruffled and puffy, it also has an evil twin, the Gothic Lolita. Lolita could be considered an offshoot of Kawaii, as it focuses on the little-lost-schoolgirl look, complete with permanent pigeon toes.
M is for Manic Pixie Dream Girl (America)
Have you ever achieved self-actualization while kissing a girl in the rain while the Shins played in the background? Chances are it was with a MPDG. Popularized by movies like Garden State and (500) Days of Summer, this quirky, impeccably dressed character is all neurotic men need to cure (read: charmingly bring full-bloom) their neuroses.
N is for Nozem (Netherlands)
This was the Dutch answer to teddy boys and greasers, and the women swooned over moped-straddling guys in leather jackets. But unlike your typical Pink Lady, female nozems occasionally got on the bikes themselves.
An Otaku girl dreams of waking up one day and finding herself to be a living-breathing anime character. In the meantime, she simply dresses up like one and plays role-playing games that take up every single aspect of her life.
In the eighties, the paninaro trend reflected that of the yuppies in America. These girls were obsessed with boat shoes, Armani jeans, and Ray Ban sunglasses. By 1986, they had grown popular enough to be lampooned in a Pet Shop Boys song.
Q is for Queen Bee (America)
In Rosalind Wiseman's book Queen Bees and Wannabes, the queen bee is the alpha girl, the leader of the pack. In the hit movie it spawned, Mean Girls, the queen bee is described as "your typical selfish, back-stabbing slut-faced ho-bag."
R is for Raver Girl (Universal)
If you've ever seen that Dawson's Creek episode where the gang goes to a rave and Joey takes E, you get the idea. But the raver girl aesthetic has changed since the warehouse days: thanks to the popularity of dubstep and outdoor festivals like Coachella, the newest incarnation of raver girl can be recognized by her rainbow-tinged wardrobe, her cute drug-related accessories (ie: pacifier), and her kaleidoscope of makeup and piercings.
S is for Sloane Ranger (British)
Posh, upper class, lots of teeth: you've got yourself a sloane ranger. By 1990, the trend was so prevalent that it warranted its own official handbook. Princess Diana was the archetypical sloane ranger, and her rise to the throne only made the trend more popular.
T is for Trixie (America)
Similar to a Sloane Ranger, a trixie can be seen around the midwest wearing yoga pants and Uggs, holding a venti Starbucks cup and a puggle. The term is still considered derogatory, and it even has a male counterpart: the Chad.
U is for Urbanista (America)
More simply known as a fashion blogger, a common barnacle seen around the deep sea that is the Internet. Their blogs are filled with gratuitous pictures of themselves modeling Prada mules and YSL jodhpurs that you can't help but wonder how they afford. Fashion bloggers are a proud bunch and consider it the pinnacle of success once they're front row at Alexander Wang between Kanye and Anderson Cooper.
V is for Valley Girl (America)
Valley Girl's lasting influence can be seen in their particular brand of dialect, Valley Speak. "Like" and "totally" are forever engrained in the English language, and we have these so-called materialistic airheads to thank for that. But trying to over-analyze their impact is like mixing stripes and plaid. As if.
W is for WAG (Britain)
WAG, Wives And Girlfriends, is a subset of UK soccer culture. The British tabloids are filled with the exploits of various WAGs, whether they're tripping around in vacant perfection or embroiled in a messy divorce. Two of the most famous WAGs are Cheryl Cole, of the pop group Girls Aloud, and Posh Spice, of that other one. Though they're swimming in footballer cash, a WAG is still known for "WAG fall-outs," her melodramatic, highly publicized breakdowns.
X is for...
Give me a break.
Y is for Yuppie (America)
See: Sloane Ranger
Z is for Zoku (Japan)
The word zoku can be loosely translated into "tribe," and it is often attached to the end of certain subcultures, such as rockabilly (rokabiri zoku) or punk (karasu zoku). And goth is one of the biggest and most visible tribes. The Japanese goth scene, whose females have been known as an-non zoku, has reinvented itself many times over. Though it was born as a pseudo-punk movement, the trend has been criticized for becoming just as elitist and materialistic as its yuppie polar opposites.