Stan can be defined as an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity. Stan culture is very popular amongst teens on social media who dedicate pages to their favorite celebrity. There are millions of stan pages on Instagram, Twitter or other forms of social media where these fans obsess and praise their idol. Although being interested in celebrities’ lives is normal when does it become too much?
The word ‘stan’ originated from a song written by rapper Eminem. The song is about an obsessive fan who later becomes insane due to being ignored by his favorite rapper Eminem, eventually the fan commits suicide. The term refers to the crazy fan being a ‘stan’. Of course, now the word is used in less severe cases and used in more every day vocabulary to refer to someone as a dedicated fan rather than a crazy fan.
There’s nothing wrong with supporting and admiring your idol but the behavior many stans exhibit can be seen as toxic or extreme. In many cases stans attack or bully others who oppose their opinion on an artist going as far as threatening their lives. Many of them criticize and drag others for not supporting or being in competition with their idol.
Stan culture is most evident in pop culture where fandoms often have names such as Beyoncé and her ‘Beehive’ or Ariana Grande and her ‘Arianators’. These fans often identify with these fandoms in order to create relationships with others who also support their idol. They also create relationships or fantasies in their heads with their idols. These stans essentially end up in a parasocial relationship which energy, interest and time are dedicated towards the object of obsession whilst they (commonly a celebrity) remain ignorant of the existence of the other.
As time changes the word stan will eventually have a negative connotation associated with it. Crazy and obsessive fans who leave mean and cruel comments on other artists page, praying on the failure of their competition. Hopefully stan culture can acknowledge the wrong in their actions and can grow into a more supportive and loving community.