Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Why We Should Be Careful When It Comes to Stan Culture

Updated Published
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Oswego chapter.

(TW- Mentions of Megan’s Law: A law about the Registered Sex Offenders List)

We all have our favorite celebrities or influencers; maybe we started following them for their music, acting, and content. No matter how we find them, we usually will look into their activity through social media to see what they’re doing next. Some people might purchase merchandise of these individuals and some make fan pages or accounts dedicated to them. 

At the end of the day, it is okay to like a celebrity or influencer, but should we be careful about how much effort we put in to show or back them up? I kept asking myself this as I noticed what “stan culture” has turned into. Stan culture is defined as:

“The behavior or beliefs of an extreme fandom whose members fervently and blindly support their chosen celebrity or team, often demonetizing or reviling anyone or anything opposed to, or not sufficiently devoted to, the object of their worship” (Dictionary.com).

Given this definition, usually, individuals who determine themselves as a “stan” put their person of interest on a higher pedestal to the point that when criticism even comes their way, they will defend them no matter what. 

In today’s world where social media has become prevalent in everyday life, many will take to the internet to share their thoughts or opinions on celebrities or influencers. Although users do have the ability to share their own thoughts, some stans have retaliated against individuals to an over-the-top point.

Many stans have been known to come together to overpower the comment section and direct message system, leaving usually bashful or rude comments on another stranger’s thoughts. However, some will go steps further which can lead to unsafe situations and legal action to be taken. This leads us to the term doxxing. Doxxing is defined as:

“To publicly identify or publish private information about (someone), especially as a form of punishment or revenge” (Merriam-Webster.com)

This way of action not only results in a negative outcome for the individual getting doxxed as it is sharing private information publicly but also for the doxxer, as it can lead to them being sued or losing their job/career if caught or charged. 

Doxxing used to be more popular at first with influencers, however rather than a random stranger on the internet, users actually would doxx the creator. This was often seen done to creators on platforms such as YouTube or Twitch, with most of them being swatted. However, in the last few years, it has become a popular idea to doxx strangers on the internet when someone does not like or support their celebrity or influencer. Most recently we have seen this with Nicki Minaj fans who call themselves “Barbz.” 

Through platforms such as X, Instagram, and Reddit, the Barbz would doxx users who did not agree with Nicki Minaj’s response to fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s new song, “HISS.” The song that came out a few weeks ago included the rapper dissing past individuals she had connections with, without saying their names. However, one line would catch the attention of Minaj and her fanbase when Megan Thee Stallion said,

“These hoes don’t be mad at Megan, these hoes mad at Megan’s Law”


These lyrics did not include Minaj’s name, however many were quick to point out the connection that this could be towards her as her husband and father of her child, Kenneth Petty. Petty is a convicted sex offender and Megan’s Law is a federal law that requires sex offenders to notify the public and their community of their actions. More about Megan’s Law and the history behind it can be found on the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute’s page, Megan’s Law

After the song had come out, Nicki Minaj released her diss track soon after, along with multiple posts shaded towards her. Though with Minaj putting this out, her Barbz decided to back her up by doxxing anyone who was against their artist in this feud. Multiple users experienced doxxing, in which their private information such as addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information was shared. Many users were swatted, and it went as far as their family members being doxxed as well. There were also many reports that the Barbz were able to find the location of where Megan Thee Stallion’s mother had been buried and wanted to vandalize her gravestone, as the Music Times’ Angeline Sicily notes in their article, “Nicki Minaj’s Barbz Slammed for Doxxing the Grave of Megan Thee Stallion’s Mom Amid Their Feud.”

For many who were doxxed, some have or are deciding to take legal action against the users as it causes an unsafe situation for not only them, but their family members. There also already can be legal action taken against the doxxers if they used swatting, as falsely calling in can be considered a federal crime.

Although the Barbz have caused this, this isn’t the first time it has happened. Distractify’s Elizabeth Randolph published an article a few weeks ago, “A Timeline of the Barbz Doxxing Others on Nicki Minaj’s Behalf,” which shows past times Nicki Minaj’s stans have gone against users who do not agree with the female rapper. The timeline can also make one think about the importance of whether the celebrity or influencer should come out and say something to their fans. In this case, Nicki Minaj has not publicly apologized to the doxxed individuals or anyone affected by her fanbase’s actions or asked them to stop.

This story of Nicki Minaj and her stans, the “Barbz” is a great example of how stan culture can get out of hand and how we should be careful about how much we support someone. Again, we can like a celebrity or influencer, but we should not go to the point of putting them on the highest pedestal, to where others are harmed for disagreeing.

Hello, I am Leila LaJoie (she/her). I go by Leila, but sometimes people call me Laine. I am a 21-year-old in my final year of undergrad at SUNY Oswego. I double major in Journalism and English, so I have always had a love for writing in general. In my free time I enjoy writing, reading, dancing, listening to music and going on walks. As far as what I focus on while writing, I'm very open, it really depends on what I'm into at the moment as well as what is going on around my environment. I am grateful for the opportunity to start this journey on Her Campus, as it will allow for me to have a writing outlet that can kickstart and further me into my career. It also will allow me to hear more about others' stories and experiences. A stepping stool if you will to my future and connections to be made.