What Is the Meaning of Calling Someone A "Valerie" on TikTok? Inside the Viral Debate

Melissa Willets - Author
By

Apr. 27 2023, Published 2:38 p.m. ET

Another day, another trend on TikTok. This time, users are calling certain people in their lives "Valerie." So what does this mean? OK, buckle up because the explanation is not at all complicated. However, not everyone agrees with the concept of a "Valerie" in the first place.

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Let's start out by going back in time to 1999, when the movie Girl, Interrupted came out, starring Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder, among other famous actors — like Whoopi Goldberg, who played Valerie. More on her part in a moment.

First, read on for details on how TikTok users are employing the name "Valerie" online — and what the controversy is all about.

So, what is the "Valerie" meaning as it's used on TikTok?

The meaning of a "Valerie" on TikTok is a person who protects you no matter what, in every circumstance. While this seems like an easy definition, many users have taken the term to mean different kinds of people in their lives.

For some, it's your brother, who is going to stand up to anyone who bothers you.

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For someone else, it's their best friend Bella, who "can sense creeps from a mile away." And, "if anyone talks to [you] in a tone she doesn't like, she'll check them."

You'll always feel protected!

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It seems everyone has a "Valerie" whether it's a brother, a friend, or, well, yourself. Maybe you "were always someone else's 'Valerie,'" like user @_meganxoxoo.

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But no matter who your "Valerie" is, many commenters on the trend are taking issue with how the name is being used in the first place.

Back to Girl, Interrupted, where the quote that is used at the beginning of these "Valerie" videos on TikTok originates.

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The soundbite in question is Angelina, who plays Lisa, screaming out for help as orderlies remove her from a tense confrontation with fellow patients inside a mental health facility. She begs Valerie, the nurse Whoopi plays, for mercy, as she is being dragged away to undergo electroconvulsive shock treatment.

How Valerie reacts is what critics of the trend point out.

As TikTok users point out, Valerie doesn't help Lisa in 'Girl, Interrupted'.

Commenters were quick to point out that the TikTok users calling protectors in their lives "Valerie" must not be familiar with Girl, Interrupted. Because Valerie does not stop the orderlies from taking Lisa away despite her cries for help.

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"Valerie is just a nurse in a mental hospital," one commenter said, adding, "not a badass bestie."

Repeatedly, and across all the content playing off the "Valerie" trend, people familiar with the '90s movie — which also starred the late Brittany Murphy — were not feeling the meaning of the name in this new way.

"Valerie doesn't even come into Lisa's room!" implored one such user.

"The whole point of the scene is that Valerie didn't show up," declared another annoyed commenter.

To be fair, plenty of other TikTok users enjoyed giving props to their own personal "Valerie" and weren't mad about how the name is used on TikTok. And other commenters empathize with @_meganxoxoo, who is her own "Valerie."

"Definitely my own 'Valerie,'" one such person commented.

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