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We Stan, Cancelled… Ugh, I Don’t Even Know Her: An In-Depth Look at Stan and Cancel Culture

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Duq U chapter.

What exactly is stan culture and cancel culture?

According to NPR’s All Songs Considered, stan culture is “…a badge of honor for fans committed enough to show up and go all out for their favorite star on the Internet.”

This definition is correct but is not totally comprehensive. Stan culture extends far beyond fans supporting their favorite artist. In fact, “stan” is kind of an ambiguous term because someone can “stan” anything—from an action to a person to an idea to a thing. Seriously, anything.

Besides all of this considered, stan culture is nice because it encourages a great show of love and support for anything and everything.

But the same cannot be said for cancel culture.

In fact, cancel culture could totally be considered the hateful cousin of stan culture.

According to nypost.com, cancel culture is “…the phenomenon of promoting the ‘canceling’ of people, brands and even shows and movies due to what some consider to be offensive or problematic remarks or ideologies.”

The problem with this culture is as soon as we “cancel” someone or something, there is essentially no room to make any other mistakes. There’s also no way to recover from these mistakes, which result in the “cancelling.”

On top of that, if someone or something is “cancelled,” then we no longer hold them accountable for fixing their problematic behaviors, remarks or ideologies. We just automatically expect them to be consistently problematic without pushing them to be better.

This might be “controversial, yet brave” (shout out to drag queen, Trixie Mattel, for that phrase), but by cancelling someone or something for what we find a fault in, we are allowing these problems to continue on and are completely brushing aside these inexcusable behaviors, remarks, or ideologies as “typical” of that “cancelled” person or thing.

And you know what? We just shouldn’t allow these cultures to continue.

(And, yes. I know I said stan culture is nice and has a positive nature, but if one culture has to go, then so does the other—it’s only fair).

This next statement might be hard for some to hear, but cancel culture and stan culture is just so high school. 

It is like being in the lunchroom and deciding which friend group you’re going to sit with that day. If someone sits with one friend group, then they are “stanning” that friend group while “cancelling” the other—at least for that lunch period.

Some might think that analogy is a little silly, but seriously (?!), so is stan culture and cancel culture.

How about we abolish stan culture and cancel culture to allow for the average, flawed human being to make mistakes, but then hold them accountable to make up for it and do better?! It’s not that hard, people!

*Sigh* Alright, well. Thank you for coming to this TED Talk!

Hey I'm Lauren! I'm a PR & Advertising major at Duquesne University and I am one of the Founding Campus Coordinators! On campus, you'll most likely find me sprinting from place to place because I am rarely on-time for anything (oops!) Off-campus, you'll find me at any and every coffee shop in and around Pittsburgh!