Bitter Old Fanfic Queen

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Synonyms: BOFQ[1], Bitter Old Fandom Hag
See also: Oldtimer, Fanosaur, Dino, Fandom Mom, Neofan, Ageism in Fandom
LJ icon with the abbreviation BOFQ
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Bitter Old Fanfic Queen is a term coined in The X-Files fandom. It had its beginnings in the 1998 essay by Jennifer Oksana: Bitter Old Fic Queens and Why They Need to Get Over It. Shortly after, fans had changed "Fic" to "Fanfic." [2]

A BOFQ is a jaded, martini-swilling cynic who has seen it all. A BOFQ might say something like "Get offa my lawn" on occasion, and will tend to be both familiar with and tired of common and recurrent arguments.

The opposite of a BOFQ is a newbie, or really, anybody who has not yet developed a cynical eye for earnest chatter.

While this term began with X-Philes, it is now used in other fandoms where it has evolved to become "Bitter Old Fandom Queen." Happily, "BOFQ" covers both!

Bitter Old Fanfic Queen was originally intended as a negative descriptor, representing a particular type of fan who is unable to let go of the old days - as written in the original essay, "They mourn for the Good Old Days when fic was a brave new world with *talented* authors and low traffic. They bitch about all the crap out there and sulk when the philistine newbies prefer-- gasp, clutch, choke-- sappy, inane, mediocre MSR to their own impeccably written, brilliantly characterized masterpieces."

However, while it is sometimes still used as a pejorative, the phrase has largely been reclaimed by BOFQs who are proud to wear their crown, and is used to mean something akin to "fandom veteran". Positive use of BOFQ may have coincided with the growing negative use of “Fandom Mom.”

Examples of Usage

1998: The Original Essay

This will probably piss the Debbilmice off, because they, at least in my head, fit this category a little too well. But who cares? I get myself in trouble all the time and they said to send essays...

Anway, I'm talking about and to the bitter old fic queen, a most theatrical and amusing, yet venomously poisonous species. They're their own special club, but announce to us most noisily, "Fan Fiction Does NOT Have Snobbery, or Cabals, or..." whatever. They haven't actually *liked* the show since "The Blessing Way" but continue to watch the show with increasing hatred and sado-masochistic glee. They mourn for the Good Old Days when fic was a brave new world with *talented* authors and low traffic. They bitch about all the crap out there and sulk when the philistine newbies prefer-- gasp, clutch, choke-- sappy, inane, mediocre MSR to their own impeccably written, brilliantly characterized masterpieces.

You know who you are. You know I'm talking to you. You know you want to know who I am so you can find my fic and tear it to pieces starting with the first misplaced comma. Don't deny it. I'd probably do the same thing. Equal-opportunity bitchdom is cool with me. Be proud-- you're a Bitter Old Fic Queen, while I'm an Arrogant Young Fic Nobody. I don't hate you. Sometimes I laugh at you. Mostly I wonder about you. [3]

1999

The assorted Ladies and Gentleman of ATXFC, all dolled up with no place to go (though rumor had it the FBI was throwing a charitable-- er, charity ball later) shifted restlessly out of the carefully composed groups into which they had been assembled on stage. Blue Lightning and her trusty sidekicks had tried their best, really they had, and each Bitter Young FanFic Princess had been carefully separated from each Bitter Old FanFic Queen by at least one Soon To Be Bitter Lady in Waiting (Not Eligible this year, and wondering if sticking around till next year was really such a Good Idea) and one Smutty Young fanFic Scullery Maid. [4]

2000

[use by Jennifer Oksana, the original creator of the term]: (Okay, so I will never be in danger of that, Embittered Old Whippersnapper Fic Bitch that I am, but the royal "we" sounds so much more dignified, you know what I mean? [snipped] Of course, considering the existence of these other fics/rants by or cowritten by me: Think Before You Use *That* Title, Bitter Old Fic Queens, The Number of the Beast, Letters to God, A Survey to God, Off-Off-Off Broadway, and Mary Sue's 'On X-Files Day', um... gee. I am shocked and surprised at my own behavior. To quote the great Oscar Wilde, "Cleverness becomes a public nuisance." [5]

2001

[From The Life Cycle of the Bitter Old Fanfic Queen, a satirical essay:] Every single one of you fucking SUCKS as a writer, and here's a four-thousand-word mailing list post addressed to each of you individually to explain exactly why you will NEVER be as good as any of MY best friends... [6]

2006

There is private communication in media fandom, but generally speaking it is individual email and very small lists of personal contacts, for the same reasons that SFWA private lists are being attacked. In fanfic, it is called the "Bitter Old Fanfic Queen Cabal" -- any flaunted sign of private communication, like a private list, is automatically taken to be a conspiracy. We're refreshingly crazy that way.[7]

2008

Where's the BOFQ in this scheme? You know, the one who wrote fic years ago, "back when the show was still good and fandom didn't suck," and now does nothing but complain, insult people, and wield the authority to order people out of fandom entirely if they fail to shower adequate adoration on her six year old fics that still have the original typos, including that one with the title spelled wrong, because fixing them would damage the artistic integrity of the piece."[8]

2011

Accept certain inalienable truths: People are bad about leaving feedback. There will be wank over hiatus. You, too, will become a Bitter Old Fandom Queen. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, fangirls left glorious feedback, hiatus was for porn and fanbrats respected their resident BOFQs....Respect your resident BOFQ.[9]
Similarly, social justice fans gain cred through oppression olympics; bolster their positions by talking about and disclaiming their own privilege; cite academic texts as a means of power geeking; and demonstrate the “bitter old fandom queen” attitude of decrying n00bs’ involvement by saying “it’s not our job to educate you.” [10]
LJ icon reading: Bitter Old Fandom Queen. Fandom: Smallville
From my lofty bitter old fandom queen position, I’m going to hand out this advice to both sides. Stop being bitches. Seriously, stop it. I know, I know, I’m the worst example of being the better person but do as I say and what not. If you the poster want to have an actual, reasonable discussion about a controversial topic, then act reasonably. If you start out being all but but whhhhyyy do you haaaaaatttteeee meeeeee, well, you’ll get comments providing you a handy detailed explanation. If you the commenter are being baited, ignore it. Seriously, ignore it. Starve the beast. As for me, I’m going to sit back, eat popcorn and watch the fun. After all, I know how this story ends. Trust me, I lived through the Spike redemptionista wars in Buffydom. The Palinista thing? Pffffffft. Amateurs.[11]
As a Bitter Old Fanfic Queen (thanks Cofax7 for that one, though I'm really not bitter at all -- jaded is probably the better term), who is twice or three times of the age of those leveling these charges, I really don't get the desire to BE RIGHT and condemn the rest of us. I love fandom, I love fic, I love the Chronicles, and I love the communities that build up around them. [12]

2012

I've been in online fandom since early 1996, which totally qualifies me for Bitter Old Fandom Queen-dom. If you disagree, you can just get the hell off my lawn, damn kids. *fistshake* *canethump*[13]
Tumblr really does make me feel like I'm turning into one of those BOFQs who used to go on about how zines and Usenet were so much better than everything we were doing back when I got into fandom.[14]

2013

Being a fan is a celebration of the things you love. Being in fandom is getting to do that with other people. It’s not always roses and sometimes there are things we as fans have to deal with and break down and overcome because we still live in the real world, but it definitely shouldn’t be about proving who has the most old school street cred and that the new-new kids don’t know how good they’ve got it. So yeah, sometimes I wear my BOFQ badge and I roll my eyes at shit, but in the end, I’m still a fan of a thing (of lots of things) and I like being a fan with other people. So.. why the fuck do I care who’s been at it longer?[15]

2015

I am the Bitter Old Fic Queen of this fandom, I know my worth, and if you step onto my lawn, you’d frigging well better be respectful. [16]
[ihateseatbelts]
Back in the days when only one person could use the Internet, and if Mum and Dad want to use the phone? Well, pfft. It's a wrap.

These kids today, with their fibre opticals and smarty thingamajigs...

[Karinta]
The very definition of the Bitter Old Fanfic Queen. [17]

2016

...like most of my fandoms these days, the average age of people producing fanworks for it is significantly lower than mine. I am a bitter old fandom queen with significantly more experiences in reading and writing simply by virtue of time, and what they’re producing is fine in the grand scheme of things, you can do whatever and other fans are obviously enjoying it, it’s just not what I want to be reading.
I want to steal the term “bitter old fandom queen” because it’s glorious. [18]

2017

[I am a] fandom dowager countess (sort of like being a bitter old fandom queen only less so). [19]
I feel like a bitter old punk some days (or what fans call a BOFQ – a bitter old fandom queen. [20]

2020

Other petty, old-fandom-hag concerns: a drabble is 100 words. No more. No less. Full stop. ONE. HUNDRED. WORDS. Soemthing longer than a hundred words and less than whatever you want to call a fic (3K? 5K? I don’t care) is a ficlet.

It’s a rule. It’s a fact. It’s a definition. It’s a drabble and it’s 100 words exactly. [21]

Meta

Links

Trivia

On the /r/FanFiction subreddit, the term is used as a user flair by one of the former moderators.

References

  1. X-Files and Fanfic Acronyms on The X-Files Lost & Found
  2. New: You'll Never Eat Lunch With This Newsgroup Again by Dead4Sure in alt.tv.x-files.creative on Aug 1st 1999
  3. from Bitter Old Fic Queens and Why They Need to Get Over It
  4. New: You'll Never Eat Lunch With This Newsgroup Again by Dead4Sure in alt.tv.x-files.creative on Aug 1st 1999
  5. alt.tv.x-files.creative › NEW: Keywords Withheld (1/1) comments by Jennifer Oksana (May 10, 2000)
  6. The Life Cycle of the Bitter Old Fanfic Queen, a satirical essay by Valeria Fate dated 2001.
  7. Some comments, comment by veejane dated September 5, 2006;WebCite.
  8. Comment by spiletta42 in A Field Guide to Big Name Fans by Holdouttrout, dated January 29, 2008; WebCite.
  9. Everybody's Free (To Be Fannish) by elizah-jane, dated January 23, 2010, an essay based on the humorous graduation essay "Everyone's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)."
  10. ICFA Panel #114: Steampunks, Neopagans, and FailFen by Heather dated April 29, 2011; WebCite.
  11. I know how this story ends by alexthechick, dated March 15, 2011;WebCite.
  12. Cannons blowing up ships and other ramblings, anon reviewers, etc. reply by rthstewart July 22nd, 2011 on LiveJournal
  13. Serrico's LJ Profile accessed January 5, 2012; WebCite.
  14. post in the Because of tumblr thread at fail-fandomanon dated June 8, 2012.
  15. So like, today on my flist I Saw dated Feb 13, 2013; reference link.
  16. how to be a respectful fan - a.k.a. “Captain Hill and Those Damn Kids On My Lawn” by tielan on tumblr, Sept. 2015 archive link.
  17. Reply by ihateseatbelts to Anecdotes about reading fanfiction back in the old days in /r/HPfanfiction/ November 16th 2015
  18. scheherezhad.tumblr, reply by machine-dove tumblr (June 16, 2016)
  19. animatedamerican.tumblr (2017?)
  20. from the interview Francesca Coppa, “The Fanfiction Reader: Folk Tales for the Digital Age”
  21. Other petty, old-fandom-hag concerns, May 25th, 2020
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