When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
There I was standing in line, eagerly waiting my turn to meet my favorite actors. I felt so excited but calm at the same time. At least I thought I was.
I tried rehearsing in my head what I wanted to say to my role models and inspirations. But then within seconds there they were, right in front of me with a huge big smile… and everything I had just rehearsed flew out the window. I suddenly forgot how to speak English.
Eeek…fangirling mode activated!!
It was then I realized I officially closed the English dictionary and opened up a brand new dictionary with a whole new language. Thankfully, everyone at a convention, including the celebrities, also spoke this language so at least I wasn’t totally babbling like a fool.
THE LANGUAGE: FANGIRL
If you’re a newly minted fangirl, you’re probably wondering how to speak Fangirl. Fangirl is a complex but impressive language spoken by millions all around the world. Lemon no longer means the sour yellow fruit and the ships fangirls speak of don’t use wind to sail.
Regardless what type of fangirl you are, you need to know how to speak Fangirl. So that’s what week’s Fandom University lesson is all about. Below, you’ll find a glossary of the most striking ‘Fangirl’ words and phrases. Memorize these words and you’ll never have to stare blankly when a fangirl speaks to you ever again. I hope you’re ready to learn how to speak Fangirl.
Fandom. Probably the most important Fangirl term you need to know. If you don’t remember anything else, remember this one. A generic term expressing the passion that someone has for a piece of work, fandom represents the “fan community” created around this passion.
Fandoms are like sororities or fraternities but without repercussions.
Canon. No, not ecclesiastical laws or the camera company. Canon is the official storyline that you see or read in a piece of work. Don’t bother arguing against it. Although fangirls are always hoping that headcanons will eventually turn canon.
Headcanon are any additions to canon by fangirls. These additions can then be accepted by other fans and sometimes help fanfic writers ‘fill in the blank’ so to speak. But because of this, as a fangirl, you’re constantly double checking to see if something is canon or headcanon. For example, save for Sebastian Smythe and Hunter Clarington, no one in Glee’s Dalton Warblers actually has last names in canon. Well, fanfiction writers have officially accepted Nick Duval and Jeff Sterling as headcanon. CheckIMDB if you don’t believe me. Shocking right?
OC. (Original Character) Usually found in fanfiction, OC lets readers know that there are completely new characters in the story that the author created. Writers will either use the abbreviation in the ‘author’s note’ or in the relationship pairing tag (Harry Potter/OC).
OOC. (Out of Character) I wouldn’t necessarily consider this a fangirl term, but since it pops up every now and then on discussion boards and in character analysis reviews, I’ll include it anyway. It’s usually thrown around in Facebook Groups where fans will discuss a TV episode as it’s airing.
So in layman terms, this phrase implies that a character’s behavior is… well…. odd and contrary to his or her canon personality.
Fanfic writers use OOC to either a) warn readers so that they’re not thrown off while reading or b) help fellow writers improve upon their characterization.
Because fanfiction is all about writing creatively while staying as close to canon as possible.
Jump the Shark. Sadly, due to its popularity, a TV show can sometimes end up running longer than it should. Story arcs can’t last forever. So when showrunners and writers fail to plan ahead for future seasons, they can easily wind up creating crazy scenarios that contradict canon that make fans go wtf? O.o. We call this jump the shark.Consequently, a lot of fangirls stop watching and leaves the fandom.
Ship. No, not a sailing ship. Although, it must as well be since fangirls are voyagers, always eager and ready to set sail into an ocean of feels filled with endless possibilities. Sounds nice right?
Doesn’t matter what fandom, there’s always shipping.
Sometimes though, fangirls take shipping way too seriously causing shipping wars. But it’s also all in fun and jest. The most fun part, naming each ship. For example, Dean and Cas => Destiel. Hermione and Ron => Romione.
OTP. (One True Pairing) AKA the most beautiful couple in all of the fandom.Their love for each other is so pure and raw and cannot be shaken or destroyed by anything. OTPs turn many realists into hardcore romantics. Soulmates. True Love. Whatever you call it, it’s the most beautiful, wonderful, best love you can possibly imagine and everyone has their own list.
Slash. aka homosexual pairings. Canon or non-canon, doesn’t matter. I’m not sure why we use the word slash as an identifier. Maybe shipping names for homosexual pairings were harder to come up with so rather than trying to combine the two names, fans would just separate them with a slash (/) … I’m really not too sure about the origin.
But over the years, especially with the rise of the LGBT movement, it’s gotten pretty popular, even becoming a subset of fandom culture.
You can be a fan of slash without being part of a specific fandom, using filters to search for only slash work.
Fanfiction. (or fanfic) The stories are written using characters and plots already established in popular TV shows or a book series. Fanfiction is a fantastic way for aspiring writers to start writing.Without having the worry of creating characters from scratch, fanfic writers can focus on story development and experiment with “what would happen if…”.
For example, as a strong Supernatural fan and a passionate Destiel shipper, I read a lot of fanfiction where Dean and Castiel are in the military. Since canon constantly refers to Dean and Castiel as soldiers, asking yourself “what would happen if Dean and Castiel fell in love while in the military” gives you such an ocean of possibilities.
Crossover. When two seemingly separate worlds collide.
Most notably the Marvel Franchise.
But as an easy way for TV shows to increase viewership, crossovers are slowly gaining popularity. Although most networks work only within their circle of shows
|NBC ‘s Chicago PD/Chicago Fire/Chicago Med||CW’s Arrow/Legends of Tomorrow/The Flash|
AU. (Alternate Universe) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Fangirls are incredibly creative individuals and fandoms leave a wealth of “what if’s” for fangirls to play around with. Hand a fangirl a “what would happen if…” scenario and she’ll come back with an alternate universe. These are my favorite stories to read and videos to watch because they take characters that I already love and adore and stick them in new and different scenarios.
Angst. Basically synonymous with emo … but for the adults. Just kidding. Angst is the unbearable anguish of life with the hopes of overcoming this seemingly impossible situation. So basically my life.
In terms of fangirl speak, it’s considered a genre of fanwork. Feeling down about life? Time for an angsty fanfic. Facing a quarter-life crisis? Gotta find that angsty video.
BTW, completely unrelated, but does anyone remember that Harry Potter Puppet Pals skit where Harry literally goes “angst, angst, angst, angst”?
Smut/Lemons. Sex. Don’t ask me why we call it lemons but it’s basically a euphemism for soft porn. Much like using slash to warn the audience of a homosexual pairing, writers use smut/lemons to warn potential readers of explicit material found in the piece of fan work. Whether the person chooses to continue forwards is up to them. But at least they know what to expect… and who knows, maybe they were specifically searching for something smutty and lemony.
What Is Life?. Fangirls ask themselves this question literally any time they’re faced with immense fandom induced emotion. What they actually mean by asking this question is taken from their tone. But generally speaking, it’s used to ask if something is real or imaginary.
Because let’s be real, fangirls have vivid imaginations and can’t always be trusted. I usually use it when someone famous acknowledged me, either online or in person. Because why would someone like them wave and say hi to a small simple fangirl like me? Like… what is life?
Stan. Stalker + Fan …but we’re not technically stalking… we’re just really good at researching and keeping up with our one true love. Keeping Up with the Kardashians anyone? That family literally encourages people to stalk them by watching this show. So we’re not really doing anything bad… and stalking is such a negative word… so we prefer to stan our celebrities and TV shows.
The Feels. When the heart hurts too much. Whether it’s sweet tender and romantic or tragic and utterly devastating, it hits you straight in the gut. Your breath whipped out of you and you feel yourself slowly growing dizzy from the overwhelming emotion.
Almost akin to heartbreak, when a beloved character dies and his last words are a declaration of love to his best friend, you can't help it... it's like the faucet's been turned on. * sniff * Click To Tweet
*squak* *squeal* *indistinguishable noise*
O.o no comment.
Much like any other language, new words are constantly being added but these words are the core foundation of the Fangirl language. At least now you’ll be ready to have an intellectual conversation with a fangirl. You’re welcome.