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.


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.


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…



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.


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.


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)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.