Today is International Fangirl Day…Yay! This seems like a perfect opportunity to geek out. How are you celebrating? Rewatching Sherlock for the 50th time? Trolling tumblr for photos of Tom Hiddleston? Laughing at Misha Collins’ twitter feed? Catching up on Teen Wolf before tomorrow night’s season premiere?
Me, I’m compiling a list; a glossary…and catching up on Teen Wolf before tomorrow night’s season premiere. It has come to my attention that, while I like to surround myself with other fangirls, not everyone in my life knows what I am talking about on this blog. We get so used to fangirling with our friends, both IRL & on the internet, we forget that people who are very important to us do not speak the language of “Fangirl”…they might not even be able to understand that last sentence! So my gift to you on this wonderful Fangirl Appreciation Day is the gift of understanding. Next time your mom asks, “What are you talking about?” when you try to discuss your fav ships or your boyfriend stares blankly at you as you try to name all of the fandoms you belong to point them to this post. After a read through the Fangirl Glossary perhaps they’ll have an easier time deciphering your vernacular:
Fandom (noun) A group who shares a mutual (often bordering on, or fully crossed over into, obsessive) love for a particular book series, tv show, comic character, video game, band, etc. With the help of the internet these groups can be spread all over the world yet still easily communicate & interact with each other. A fandom could be based around absolutely anything, however it is important to note that it is the incessant interest & discussion of a cohesive fan community that distinguishes a fandom from a simply-beloved topic.
While it’s not a requirement, fandoms often have names for themselves based on what their obsession is. Here a just a few examples:
Whovians – Doctor Who Fandom
Trekkies or Trekkers (there is a difference) – Star Trek Fandom
Browncoats – Firefly/Serenity Fandom
Bachelor Nation – The Bachelor(ette) Fandom
Directioners – One Direction Fandom
Swifties – Taylor Swift Fandom
Little Monsters – Lady Gaga Fandom
Fangirl (noun) A female who is interested in fandoms. It is possible to be a fangirl and only have an interest in one specific fandom, however opening yourself up to the fangirl life often leads you down a slippery slope that ends in multiple obsessions.
Fanboy (noun) The fangirl’s male equivalent.
Fangirling (verb) Obsessing over your fandom and doing what is required to maintain fangirl status. Fangirling can include many different activities, such as browsing tumblr, plastering your walls with posters, spending hours discussing minute details and other excellent uses of ones time.
BASIC FANGIRL VOCABULARY
Canon (adjective) The official story, as told by the original source material.
In the Harry Potter universe the books and facts provided by JK Rowling about the series are considered canon. Fanfiction and fandom imaginings are based on this canon information but are not canon themselves as they are invented by the masses (not the fandom’s writers or creators) and are not presented as part of the official story.
Fanon (adjective) Non-canon material used so often in fanfiction/fan imaginings that it has almost been accepted as canon by the fandom.
Head Canon (adjective) Something you have accepted as canon in your own head, although it is not actually canon.
For example, the Marvel movie universe has not told us that Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) & Natasha Romanova (aka Black Widow) are romantically involved. However I have fully accept Clintasha as a real thing in my head. I don’t doubt it one bit. The important thing about head canon is that it will color the way you see things in your fandom. Natasha is wearing an arrow necklace in Captain America 2? Why, because it’s stylish? No, it is obviously because she is in love with the archer Hawkeye. Head canon accepted.
Feels (noun) A strong emotional investment in your fandom. Instead of have specific feeling towards something, a fangirl will just have “feels,” expressing the complex range of emotions that cannot all be listed or even discerned.
Ship (noun) Derived from the word relationship, a ship is a romantic pairing of two characters. Ship can also be used as a (verb). To ship two characters is to pair them in a relationship. It is important to note that shipping does not have to be romantic (characters could be shipped as friends or into a bromance), however it typically is.
OTP (noun) “One True Pairing” The pairing you believe in above all others, regardless of canon or the opinion of the masses. You would be be willing to metaphorically “go down with this ship.”
Slash (noun) Pairing of two same-sex characters who are heterosexual in the canon story.
Crackship (noun) A ship that you truly believe in despite it being completely improbable (such as enemy characters in a series) or impossible (such as pairing two characters who come from different fandoms).
Ship War (noun) A disagreement between “shippers” (individuals who believe in a certain pairing) who each believe their ship is superior. These can get UGLY.
Faction (noun) A faction is a subset of a fandom that centers around one specific interest, be it a character, ship, etc. HarryxHermione shippers would be a faction of the Harry Potter fandom. Another example of Harry Potter factions would be people who identify as Gryffindors.
Cosplay (verb) A shortened form of costume play, cosplay involves dressing up as a favorite character. Cosplayers (people who cosplay) will sometimes imitate their costume’s character but this is not essential. Cosplay is defined by wearing the clothes, not by acting out scenes or portraying that character in any way.
LARP (verb) “Live Action Role Play” In this case participants are dressed in costume and acting out a character. LARP can be recreations of existing scenes or the creation of entirely new stories & battles.
Comic Con (noun) Comic Con is an abbreviated way of saying Comic & Pop Culture Convention. These conventions feature panels about fandoms and featuring fandom creators/stars/etc, vendors selling geeky or collector merchandise and loads of people in cosplay. The one true Comic Con is held annually in San Diego, however other exhibitions have adopted the same nomenclature.
Comic Expo (noun) Another name for a Comic Convention. Specifically for me this is the name used to describe the Conventions held in Alberta (around my home).
Asdfghjkl (phrase) A phrase used to represent that you do not know what to say. The lack of words is probably due to over-excitement, too much emotion or overwhelming attraction. This can be used interchangeably with any other random string of characters, however this is the most common collection you will find.
Done. (phrase) This expresses does not actually mean that that a fangirl is literally done with the subject in question. It means the fangirl is so overcome with feels or desire that they need to take a minute to regroup before continuing fangirling. A particularly sexy picture of Tom Hiddleston could induce this reaction. As could a very emotional song on Ed Sheeran’s new album or a story of how Harry Styles reached out to a young fan with a terminal illness.
Squee (verb) The sound a fangirl makes when she gets overexcited. This is the fangirl call, similar to an owl’s hoot or a Woo Girl’s Whoot. The noise most similarly resembles a kettle boiling.
“I Hate Your Face” (phrase) This is usually said about someone who you actually love the face of. It is meant as a way of expressing how attractive you think someone is, while also letting the world know that you are obsessed and losing valuable hours of your life looking at this face simply because you can’t look away.
There is a collection of the Fangirl Basics. Next time we’ll get into some more specific areas of fangirl discussions…perhaps vocabulary from some of our favorite fandoms? Or a discussion on fan fiction? Let me know if there is something specific you want to learn about in the comments!
Love & Luck,
P.S. I used the abbreviation IRL in the intro, perhaps I should define it too:
IRL (phrase) Standing for “In Real Life” this is how we discern things happening in the real world from fiction created in our favorite books/tvs shows/etc, or simply in our heads. It can also be used to distinguish our physical everyday lives from our online fangirl lives.