What's Tea on Stan Culture and Why So Extreme?!

 

It’s no secret that celebrities are a large part of our society and have a lot to do with where our focus is from time to time. Some celebrities pull us more than others, and when it comes to a celebrity that we love, we all like to think that at some point we’ve graduated from regular fan to becoming their biggest fan. However, there are levels to fandom, and when it crosses a threshold of potential danger, it can get a little (dare I say it) deadly. Source 

You know those people, (because we all know those people), who go to more obsessive lengths with it than most? They’re the ones in the group who believe they’re the biggest fan and know absolutely e-ve-ry-thing about their favorite. You name it, and they’ll probably have an answer for you no matter what you ask. These are the fans that are in neck-deep commitment, and there is no limit to their love. So think of that fanatic energy, and then double it! That’s the general energy of a celebrity stan. 

...A what?

Yeah, a “stan”. Many online sources say it’s a cross between “stalker” and “fan”, and that Eminem is to be given the credit for coining the word. If you have heard of or fully remember the story in his song, Stan, then you’ve probably already started to connect those dots. 

If not, check out this link for more of a backstory on that!

I couldn’t exactly wrap my mind around the concept of loving celebrities so harshly, so I dove a little deeper to get more context. It started by asking Google to define stan, and to my surprise, there was an actual definition in the Oxford dictionary for this word. It was defined as “an obsessive or overzealous fan of a celebrity”. Off the bat, this gave me the impression that this is very much so an actual way to live for some. The idea that there are people in this world that could never do any wrong is the main yet dangerous idea that keeps this culture alive. 

While this word has made its way into the dictionary, I feel it’s important to mention that “stan” is more of a self-proclaimed thing, and is nowhere near being a medically-related diagnosis for a person. The title is very much so informal, just throwing that out there. :) 

My first time hearing about stan culture was some time last year, but apparently it’s been around for longer than a year. 

It started with hearing my friends using “I stan” for almost everything. I didn’t get it until one of my friends explained the phrase, and I still wasn’t too moved by it. Did I use the phrase though?  Assuming it was just some trend that wasn’t meant to be taken too seriously, I viewed it as nothing more than another fan claiming themselves to be the biggest of all. That was until I began to hear of unfavorable harm being done within these fan bases. No, scratch that, they’re more like little armies that are pretty much always on the defense when it comes to their celebrity. 

Simply put, this is not a job for the weak. Seriously, the hot arguments seem to be what people who stan live for. When it comes to correcting someone’s opinions of their favorites, their comments can range from being just emojis to straight-up life threats. Whenever I think of threatening fans, the first group I always think of is the Beyhive. 

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They’re probably the MOST fierce group of people I have seen in action on social media with their countless lemon and bumblebee emojis to post around. We can always count on a clapback from the hive if anyone decides to try and slight the Queen herself in any way. The same fierceness and drive applies to armies for other celebrities, such as Rihanna and her Navy

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And Ms. Ariana Grande has her infamous Arianators. It’s not limited to just musicians either. The not-so-humorous-gag-is that any celebrity is subjected to having a stan club be started in their honor, but the dangers of it honestly aren’t illuminated enough. 

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with jumping to the defense of someone you love and deeply care for, but when it turns into physically, mentally, or verbally abusing others, then it’s just malicious and should not be encouraged. So often, I experience a sense of second-hand embarrassment online for the users that get chewed up and spit out by over-obsessive fans. Extremely hateful comments and threats are made in media everyday towards other users, and sometimes it’s really disheartening to read. I understand people are going to defend their favorite celebrities online and virtually anywhere, but it seems as if people aren’t allowed to make any mistakes on the internet without the harsh consequences and responses. Nobody’s really safe when it comes to the extreme nature of people who consider themselves a stan; even its own members can’t really slip up. There have been reports on self-harm being practiced in some stan culture cliques, making sure to show extreme devotion. If you remember Justin Bieber’s stans, you probably remember the extreme episodes of people “cutting for Biebs”, to show unconditional love and support towards the singer. My opinion? Mmm, no thanks, but what do things like this mean for the future of the media? 

Well, the internet could carry on in ten thousand different ways when it comes to stanning this and that. 

For now, it's a catch with more and more people considering and becoming a part of stan culture. Because of such high buzz on the topic, I don’t see any of the stan culture extremities coming to an end anytime soon. What I can hope for, especially as a web user, is that fans who uphold their favorite stars so fiercely will come to understand the internet is a place where anything can be seen, done, or said. There’s no way any group or so-called army can police the entire web, it’s just not real.‍‍ I think one very important thing we can all learn from the extremities of stan culture is that no matter how much control we may try to have over a situation, people will do what they want to do. Endless emojis, rude words/photos, and the harm done to self and others will not necessarily change a situation or how someone feels. Some things are out of our hands, especially the opinions of others.