Not sure how the “Stan culture” blew up, but the origin of it is easily pinpointed. The rapper, Eminem, created a rap song called “Stan”. It’s a fictional account about an obsessive fan, who takes their obsession to the point where they take Eminem’s raps literally.
Stan’s obsession causes him to focus on meeting, being with and emulating Eminem to the point where he disregards everything else around him.
It ends with Stan, enraged that Eminem hasn’t replied to his “fan” letters, shutting his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of his car and Stan driving them both off a bridge to their deaths.
This is not something to be proud of nor is it something anyone in their right mind should desire to be: a Stan.
And yet, we have Stans of every type who fanatically adore their “chosen”. The only minor difference is all that toxic rage is directed at anyone who says anything negative or criticizes their “chosen”. It’s dangerous on both a micro and macro level — it hurts individuals as well as society.
A Stan doesn’t apply their critical thinking skills to the person they idolize. It’s not healthy to blindly follow or adore anyone because all that is doing is filling an emptiness inside you with something hollow.
As a kid, though still dangerous, it is understandable; however, no adult should be fawning over any adult — especially one they don’t know — to that degree.
Stans come in all areas, not just music Stans but there are political Stans for Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and all of them rant about how perfect their politician is and rail when their politician is called out for present or past issues. There are environmental Stans such as though who idolize Elon Musk, Stans for sports teams who violently fight Stans of other teams.
Some Stan behaviors are:
- allow for destructive behavior and actions from the person they stan to go unanswered, at times for years and/or minimize the enormity of what their person has done. Ex: devotees of Trump, Clinton, Sanders, R. Kelly or Bill Cosby
- can also turn on the person they idolize — sadly it’s rarely for anything significant
- threaten and/or doxx people online for the person they Stan (Ex: Trumpers
- disregard real damage that their idol can inflict on others, because the person they obsess over can do no wrong
- bully and harass people on social media if they feel that person has harmed their idol in some way, or even shown “too much affection” (see how Ariana Grande Stans treated Pete Davidson online or how kpop stans responded to female artists after the artist’s voiced their pain when SHINee singer Jonghyun committed suicide)
There really isn’t a difference between a Stan for Trump or an artist. Each of them is getting something out of it (monetary gain, destroying non-whites, a sense of purpose or belonging, etc.) and to hell with everyone else who isn’t.
Stans likely have other issues and the behaviors above are just a symptom of a larger problem and social media allows for this behavior to spread like a contagion.
When a person (be it celebrity or politician) does something that we feel is morally wrong, we get upset at the person because of the action. It’s an if A then B scenario.
Stans will attack the person simply because they want to attack the person and they’ll use the action as an excuse to do it but they couldn’t care less.
They simply attack because the person they’re targeting did or didn’t do something to/for the person the Stan idolizes.
We already have too many people out there who would rather blindly follow individuals than be an individual. As people, we are fallible so none of us should hang our hopes in this world on one person.
If they fall, we are destroyed and if they don’t, we are still destroyed because we gave up our logic for devotion.
Hang on to ideas because they are able to be changed and revised according to new information and never discard your critical thinking skills and become a mindless drone for a person.