Fangirl Linguistics 101

A few months ago, I had a moment of awakening when I realized that my teenage son did not know what the acronym BAMF stood for. Further probing led me to the realization that he did not know the majority of lingo that makes up my vocabulary. This fact, along with the multiple times I’ve had to explain to my mother what a “ship” is led me to this moment right now.

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Gather round friends as we go on a journey of discovery!

I have gathered together a small collection of the words your average fangirl might throw out on any given day. No longer wonder what the hell a Feelings Emergency is or if you should ask your doctor to test you for OTPs. This handy reference guide can get you through even the most feverish fangirl situations.

The Fangirl Glossary

Shipping – Shipping is shorthand for desiring to see two fictional characters in a relationship. The term basically means that your fangirl believes two people are compatible and would make a fantastic couple.

I’ve shipped Janet and Sam since the coffee incident in “One Hundred Days”.

OTP – (One True Pairing) This is the relationship that you ship above all other relationships. It is the couple that you would give up your first-born to make canon. Do not be fooled by the ‘One’.  Fangirls have multiple OTPs.

If Teslen isn’t your Sanctuary OTP, I’m not sure we can be friends!

BROTP – Similar to the OTP, however the BROTP, is a relationship based on mutual respect and friendship.

The Tenth Doctor and Donna give me all of the BROTP feels.

Feelings Emergency (FE) –  This one was actually coined by my dear friend Possum, but since it’s gaining traction on Twitter, I’m adding it to the lesson.  A Feelings Emergency is an instance when a fangirl is experiencing an extreme swell of emotion about a character or middle-aged actress.  The term is generally prefaced by said character’s initials.

My entire life is turning into a giant LRFE (Laura Roslin Feelings Emergency).

Situation – (Generally prefaced with a character/actress’s name). While Situations and FEs are common occurrences in the average fangirl’s life, they are not interchangeable terms. A Situation is when a fangirl is overcome by the attractiveness of her favorite.

I’ve spent the last hour staring at Torri Higginson’s face and worked myself into a full-blown Torri Situation! Why is she so hot?!?

HBIC – (Head Bitch In Charge) While not specific to fandom realms, this is a term to describe the lead female character. She often swaggers into a room, wearing heels, and proceeds to dominate the conversation and lean all over desks, chairs, or anything else she can find.

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Look at this HBIC right here

BAMF – (Bad Ass Mother Fucker) – Don’t be confused, in fangirl circles, a BAMF is almost always a strong, female character. She drinks male tears to make her hair shiny and full.

Helen Magnus is one BAMF you don’t want to mess with!

Amanda Was In The Scene (AWITS) – This serves as a fully-acceptable reason to miss major plot points relating to an episode or series that Amanda Tapping stars in. While this is Amanda Tapping-specific, it’s completely justified to replace her initial with whoever the fangirl’s favorite is.

I totally missed all of the John/James in my first watch of Sanctuary, but it’s not my fault. AWITS.

Adversely, a fangirl can claim that Amanda(or their favorite) Was Not In The Scene and therefore, the fangirl wasn’t following the story line.

I wish I knew the whole Ori origin story, but AWNITS and I ain’t watching it.

These key phrases will certainly help you engage more effectively with the fangirl in your life!

Stay tuned for Part II coming soon…

 

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Post-Convention Blues

This weekend I traveled to Houston, Texas for Comicpalooza. It was two hectic days of over-the-top, geeky delight with tens of thousands of my geek brethren. While I usually attend conventions with friends, this was a solo trip. I had been a bit nervous about attending alone, until I walked into the George R. Brown Convention Center. At that point, the excitement for the weekend took over.  Of course, this could be due to Mary McDonnell’s photo op session being the very first thing on my convention schedule.

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If you’ve ever read this blog before, or had a conversation with me that lasted longer than five minutes, you already knew that Mary had to be involved in some way for me to travel all the way to Houston. I had two days of photographs, autographs, and panels ranging from Mary’s Mother’s Day panel to a panel on the science behind Victorian weapons. Everywhere I turned, I was surrounded by fellow fans, young and old, reveling in their private fandoms as we all collectively geeked out in the packed convention center. I strolled through the Exhibit Hall spotting the General Lee (racist and outdated, but who am I to judge), a Winchester Impala, Ten’s Tardis and on the other side of the Hall Eleven’s as well, and almost all of the fandom related merchandise your heart could desire. Then, Sunday evening, it was time to catch a plane home and just as quickly as I’d been immersed in Comicpalooza, I was knocked back into reality.

Sadly, one of the oft neglected results of convention attendance is the post-convention blues that strike once you get back home. You can no longer look in any direction and see at least four women dressed as Harley Quinn. You can’t hop on the elevator and admire a cosplayer’s commitment to Nick Fury.  (Seriously, it was 85 degrees and he still had the full-length jacket on!) You can’t even eat your lunch in the shadow of a hundred Darth Vaders marching by. You certainly can’t walk around a corner and see Mary McDonnell, in all of her perfection, sitting at her table talking to fans. Basically, it sucks!

 

 

Fangirls and Politics – A Survival Guide

There is a man currently in the public eye that I despise – perhaps more than I despise anyone else. I outright loathe this man and do not shy away from saying so whenever I’m given the opportunity. Sometimes I feel the need to create that opportunity if one does not naturally arise.

This man is a perpetual crybaby who whines constantly.

This man wants to be adored for mediocre work.

This man is a raging misogynist and has a terribly sexist relationship with women.

This man’s supporters claim that anyone who doesn’t like his work simply lacks the intelligence to understand it.

This man claims to love the institution he helms, yet he dismantles it at every opportunity.

This man actively seeks to destroy the legacy of his predecessor.

I find myself counting down the days until his reign of terror is finally over.

Dear reader, no I’m not talking about Donald Trump. Rather, I’m discussing the blight on society known as Steven Moffat. Unfortunately for all of us, Moffat’s influence will likely far outlast that of Trump’s.

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If your Facebook newsfeed looks anything like mine has over the past several months, then nary a day goes by without political posts making you want to claw your eyes out.

Whether you agree or disagree, there comes a point of saturation where you consider deleting your Facebook page, removing yourself from modern society, relocating to a desolate ice cave in Antarctica (You can get Netflix there, right?), and never speaking to another human being again. Or maybe that’s just me.

Either way, navigating the waters of fandom have given fangirls an advantage in dealing with these tumultuous political times.

RULE NO. 1 – DON’T ENGAGE THE ENEMY CAMP

I’m not advising you to stop talking to everyone who disagrees with your political beliefs.  That would be pretty ridiculous.  Some of the best friends I’ve had haven’t always agreed with me on social or financial political issues.  If my friendships weren’t created on purely political reasons, why would I end them because of political reasons?

There are times when you can have very open and honest discussions, without either side getting offended, about topics important to you. I have a few friends who are hardcore Swan Queen shippers. They all know that I am not. On many occasions we have discussed why they ship this pairing as well as the problematic issues that I raised about them. Each of us listened for understanding, not in an attempt to convince the other that they were wrong.  I’ll offer you a hint, these discussions rarely happen on Facebook, or message boards, or comment sections, or pretty much anywhere on the internet. They happen when each person involved in genuinely concerned not only with the other person’s opinions, but also with their feelings.

I am not going to seek out Moffat-stans in an attempt to convince them that Steven Moffat is a terrible show runner whose “strong female characters” are as tropey as they come. I won’t even point out to them that Moffat not only contradicts the history of Doctor Who, but also previous versions of his own Doctor Who. You seriously want me to believe that no one saw a giant Statue of Liberty strolling around NYC? Seriously? Not one person? Nobody looked up and thought ‘hey, that doesn’t belong here!’

Basically, unless it is a close personal friend, they don’t care about your opinion and you are only wasting your time and your energy. Your time could be better spent asking people in New York if they’d notice if one day the Statue of Liberty just started walking around town.  

RULE NO. 2 – IT IS OK TO TUNE OUT

In all of these political posts circulating, I’m consistently seeing people admonished for failing to keep up to date on every single minute political issue. At the end of the day, we all have the issues that are significant for us – and ones that aren’t.  It is ok that we don’t all find the same issues important.  In fact, this is how we can insure that the issues get covered; even if you don’t necessarily care about them, there is someone out there who does.

Not only is it fully acceptable to ignore certain issues, it is also fully acceptable to turn it all off and tune out at times.  Sometimes it is a necessary step in self-care.

I have spoken extensively on this blog about my falling out with Major Crimes. Even though I stopped watching the show a year ago, this does not mean that I harbor any ill-will toward Mary or her character. It simply means that I cannot watch the show because it does not align with my personal beliefs. Or my sense of entertainment.

When something important does happen, I tune back in to find out what it was. Nobody should be surprised that I tuned back in for the very important Sharon’s going to turn all of the women queer pant suit episode!

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We all have to tune out at times.  That’s the nature of modern society.  Whether it’s your once favorite show or the current political scandal, there’s nothing wrong with shutting it out and walking away.

RULE NO. 3 – WE (HOPEFULLY) ALL LOVE THE THING

This rule doesn’t really apply to the extremists on either side.  There will always be people who declare that Steven Moffat is the greatest show runner that Doctor Who will ever have.  There are also who will fail to give him credit even when he has a good idea. (Even I can admit that I thoroughly enjoyed “The Doctor Dances”) Ultimately though, both sides of the Moffat debate are people who, arguably, enjoy Doctor Who and want to see the program succeed. While critics raise issues about Moffat’s tendency of having the Doctor imprinting on young girls or his treatment of queer characters, these critiques are offered out of a genuine desire to see Doctor Who succeed. Sometimes we get so focused in the minutia that we forget to look at the greater picture; we are all working to protect something that is greater than all of its parts.

Follow these three simple rules and hopefully the next few years will be slightly more tolerable. If all else fails, at least we can all start watching Doctor Who again in 2019. Lastly, above all else, if you ever see the Statue of Liberty out for an evening stroll around Manhattan, whatever you do Don’t Blink!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  This light-hearted list is in no way meant to belittle the struggle of minority groups. We must continue to support disenfranchised members of our society. It’s simply pointing out the connections between real-life politics and fandom politics.

Anatomy of a Fangirl Crush

“The fangirl may not live on a compound in southern Utah, but she usually has at least a dozen wives at her disposal. We contract lady crushes faster than we can immunize ourselves.”

– Kathleen Smith, The Fangirl Life

If you are a fangirl – or are blessed to have a fangirl in your life – then you know that we can catch feelings for a new character as quickly as a normal person can order a beverage at their favorite coffee shop.  Sometimes faster.

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Throughout the years I’ve crushed on a number of worthy male characters

While I’ve crushed on both male and female characters, I will be the first to admit that I almost always fall for the women harder; and those crushes extend past the characters and onto the actresses portraying them with exceptional regularity. These crushes are more intense and longer-lasting (having forced me to watch hundreds of hours of really bad Lifetime movies. Hostile Makeover anyone?). Recently, I’ve developed a new crush and that got me thinking about the stages fangirls go through when we develop a new lady (or male) crush.

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Feel free to insert your own joke here about how I have a very specific type

But first, some history: A year and a half ago, I decided that I needed to watch Stargate SG-1. My friend was watching at the time (she always gets me hooked on whatever she is watching) and I needed to understand all of her FEELSY messages.  So I started the series myself. Of course I immediately fell in love with Samantha Carter (and later Janet Fraiser, because JANET BBY). When I finished the series, I debated starting Stargate Atlantis, but ultimately put it off because I despised one of Atlantis‘s main characters, Rodney McKay.  However, this summer I decided that it was time!

Because I’d already watched SG-1, I was familiar with the character of Elizabeth Weir. I also knew that I preferred Torri Higginson’s warm and vulnerable Elizabeth to Jessica Steen’s distant, stand-offish portrayal. I remember messaging my friend and saying “I don’t like this blonde chick.” Her response was akin to “don’t worry, she gets replaced soon.”

I already had a mini-crush on (Torri’s) Weir from her SG-1 episodes and I figured that once I watched Atlantis, that it would turn into a full-blown crush. She met all of my criteria for “fictional ladies worthy of crushing”: a brilliant brunette in a position of leadership. (If you need clarification, look at the pictures above again)

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No offense to Steen.  I just prefer my brilliant scientist leaders more…..brunette

Stage One: The Character Crush

This is the initial stage of any new crush. The fangirl becomes captivated by the wonderful character she’s just met and the way that the character exhibits her strengths and vulnerabilities. If that character is the sole leader charged with protecting her people from cylon, wraith, or wayward governments, stage one can happen almost immediately. Messages to your friends asking “WHY IS SHE SO GOOD?!?!?!” are par for the course at this stage.

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I entered Stage 1 the moment that Elizabeth fought to get John Sheppard on her team – you know, ten minutes into the pilot.

If the character happens to be taken prisoner by hostile forces, but manages to talk her way out of the situation (with a quivering lip, no less) prepare for stage two, because it’s happening. It’s legit.  That happened.  Elizabeth Weir negotiated herself out of a hostage situation without having to surrender a single thing.  That’s how awesome she is.

Some characters never make it past the stage one crush.  That’s perfectly ok.  It doesn’t mean that you love Juliet Burke any less.  It just means that you want to spare everyone else from that level of suffering.

Stage Two: Recruitment

Fangirls are marvelous creatures who took our childhood lessons to heart.  We love sharing more than anything else in the universe (aside from our ladies). When we find a new show or character to flail over, the only thing that we want is to share the discovery with every other fangirl that we know. We begin steering every conversation toward the newest affection.

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My fangirl motto

For example:

Sydney:  My birthday’s tomorrow.

Me: Excellent! You know how you should celebrate?  Watch Atlantis and flail over Elizabeth Weir with me!

Given the number of friends that I have brought to the Sanctuary fandom, I can confirm that the only thing better than flailing over a new crush is flailing over a new crush with your friends who are now equally crushing on her thanks to your help.

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Do you have a moment to discuss Helen Magnus?

Unfortunately, as with all great female characters that my poor, unlucky heart has come to love, Elizabeth Weir’s story ends far too early.

Stage Three: Mourning

If you are an unlucky fangirl like I am, you spend a lot of time mourning your lost loves. I would compile a list of all the ladyloves this heart has mourned, but I’d never finish writing this blog after that. I’d just lay down on the floor and cry.

Mourning lost characters can take many different forms. With some, you stop watching the show for a while.  After Janet Fraiser died, I took an eight week hiatus from SG-1 in order to work out my feelings. When I realized my feelings would never be “worked out,” I figured I might as well finish the show.

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The saddest episode in Stargate history

Sometimes, we live in complete denial.  After finishing Battlestar Galactica, I  absolutely refused to watch any of season four. Ever again. As far as I’m concerned, BSG ends right after the third season. Laura Roslin is healthy, happy, and alive.

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Sometimes we consume every other piece of media that said actress has ever starred in.  However, take it from me, if your new crush is Elizabeth Weir, for the love of all fangirls everywhere, do NOT try to watch This Life.  Just don’t do it!  Ok?  No, I don’t want to talk about it.  JUST. DO. NOT. DO. IT. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Natalie Lawson may look sweet and innocent.  But do NOT fall for it.  She’s just waiting to rip your heart out and smash it into a million tiny pieces.

Stage Four: Crossover

The crossover crush is the terminal stage of any fangirl crush. You’ve exhausted all of Torri’s film and television credits and you’ve begun watching interviews, convention panels, and other assorted videos that you can find. When this happens, you’ve already crossed over.

At some point, you’re going to find a video in which Torri makes a random dolphin noise for absolutely no reason at all. (x) You are going to laugh, watch it a dozen times, and realize that you are dealing with a massive goober (which, is your last prerequisite for any IRL crush). Just go ahead and sign your heart away at this point.  She has it for as long as she wants it.

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This nerd is smiling because she knows you’re powerless to escape

If you find yourself – or your fangirl friend – rolling around in a puddle of FEEEELS about a lady you had no idea existed just a few days ago, just remember that it’s a totally normal part of our nature. All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again. Over and over and over.