I didn’t realize until now that this page had not yet been published…
In this blog, and on other sites the blog links to, you’ll find the abbreviations TFI, PFI, and FFI. These relate to different “types” of invisible women. They all stem from the faux-French term “Femmes Invisible,” or invisible women. The term is, in fact, almost French; all that would be needed is an “s” on the end of “invisible,” but the term’s originator, Mike B from Dennard Summers’ Femmes-Invisible mailing list, didn’t want to go all-out French. As for the other abbreviations, which all stem from the original FI:
- TFI – This stands for Total Femme Invisible, or a woman whose invisibility affects only herself, not her clothing. Often, even makeup is excluded, since this is not part of her body. Such a woman is then required to strip totally in order to be completely invisible. (See Kitty Carroll from The Invisible Woman (1940), Sandy Martinson from The Invisible Woman (1983), and to an extent Sue Storm Richards from Fantastic Four, since any clothing other than her specially-formulated uniform does not disappear with her.)
- PFI – This stands for Partial Femme Invisible, or a woman who disappears in parts. Generally found in written fiction more often than in movies.
- FFI – This is Fading Femme Invisible. This woman’s clothing disappears along with her, normally as a result of either psi-based invisibility or a cheap moviemaker’s not-so-special effects department (almost any cheaply made so-called scifi or fantasy flick). This is also what happens with Sue Storm Richards when she wears her uniform.
Then there are hybrids and/or those who don’t really go in any of those categories. For instance, Paulette, an invisible character in many of my stories, is “naturally” invisible but otherwise human. So her clothes won’t automatically disappear when she puts them on. Yet, if she wants to, she can make them disappear, along with anything in direct contact with her skin. This is also true of Sue, a central character in the episodic stories found on the American Invisible Inc. website.
A more complete FAQ about the invisible girls found here and elsewhere was originally posted on a site at the now defunct Geocities.com. Two new sites, Geocities.ws and Reocities.com have catalogued much of what was previously posted on Geocities. McAfee says both sites are safe, so here are links to where the FAQs can currently be found: Geocities.ws FI-FAQ / Reocities.com FI-FAQ. Just be aware that some links on those pages may be broken; I will work on reposting those pages here in their entirety.