If you have been on Twitter lately, you know how messy it can get if you diss a celebrity.
And thanks to Eminem, we have just the term for these overzealous fans– stans. It also serves as a kind of portmanteau of ‘stalker’ and ‘fan’ which is exactly what it sounds like.
‘Stan‘ the popular hit song from the ’90s by Eminem reflects the twisted reality of an obsessed fan. This music video unwinds the ill-fate of the singer’s fictional superfan, Stanley who starts off by writing letters to his idol, Eminem’s alter ego, Slim Shady. In this process, Stan starts to identify with his icon.
Later, when he doesn’t hear back from his idol, you can sense his anger coupled with the feeling of betrayal. This goes on to take a toll on his already deteriorating mental health. The video follows Stan’s neurotic behaviour which ends with him killing himself by driving over the bridge, along with his partner and their unborn child.
This music video has gone to become the face of the erratic fandom as it exists today.
While stan culture has been a part of Twitter-verse for a while, they have been notorious for being problematic. Stans can quickly turn from adoring their favourite celebrity, to spewing hate on anyone who comes close to critiquing their idol.
Stanning is serious business.
This was evident in the case of Mac Miller’s untimely death, when Miller’s stans blamed Ariana Grande for not being there for the singer. While the world was mourning the death of the singer-rapper, his stans were busy flooding Grande’s Instagram with hate comments. Eventually, the distressed singer had to resort to turning off the comments on her Instagram page.
Later, the hate train found its way to Twitter:
Similarly, Grande stans have been blatant about their dislike for her former beau, Pete Davidson. They have ensured that they leave no stone unturned to let the comedian and SNL cast member, Davidson know exactly how they feel. From memes to tweets, the standup comedian has been dragged to hell and back.
Finally, Davidson had to turn to Instagram to call out this toxic culture:
While teens and pre-teens advocate for such neurotic following, adults have also been swayed by this wave.
The hit reality show, RuPaul’s Drag Race also found itself in a bit of soup when it comes to stan culture. With the departure of Valentina, a contender from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9, left fans in turmoil. With Valentina gone, her stans took the bait and raised hell for the remaining contenders, Nina Bo’Nina Brown and Alex Michelle. Later, Valentina was condemned for not calling out her fans for their toxic behaviour.
Recently, Alessia Cara took it upon herself to address this toxic culture via a mini Instagram rant. The 22-year old Canadian singer took some heat after her performance at the 106th Grey Cup halftime show. The singer was under heavy scrutiny since her performance and had been on the receiving end of vile comments.
Cara stated, “This whole world of ‘Stan culture,’ while it’s amazing, great and connective, a lot of the time it can be very hurtful.”
The K-pop fandom takes the icing on the cake when it comes to stanning. And, far too often they cross the line. While there isn’t anything wrong with liking Korean Pop, their aggressive fanbase speaks for themselves.
With the death of the rapper, XXXtentacion, this fandom couldn’t be more insensitive:
And, people were angry:
(Image Credits: Ariana Grande’s Instagram, Alessia Cara’s Instagram, Valentina’s Instagram)