Rija Hates Everything: Stan Culture


Illustration by Yasmin Haq

Every celebrity has their own fans: casual fans, superfans and people called “stans.”

We all love an actor, band, singer, movie, show or author to a reasonable extent. For example, I love Arab food, especially Falafel. It tastes good, and I would eat it whenever. Despite my love for it, I wouldn’t label myself as a “Falafel stan.”

A “stan” can easily be understood if you’ve heard and seen the music video of “Stanley” by Eminem. The song is about an obsessive fan of his who constantly writes to Eminem, wanting to be just like him and, well, be with him. In the end, Stan drives his car with his pregnant girlfriend off a bridge because Eminem never writes him back. Eminem hadn’t written Stan back because he had been incredibly busy, and by the time he got to write him back, Stan was dead.

Stans are now viewed kind of negatively, because if you start discussing the artist they stan, their opinions about them become irrelevant because they refuse to see the flaws in them and they are biased to the max.

I’ve seen fandoms like Beyoncé’s “Beyhive,” Nicki Minaj’s “Barbz,” Justin Bieber’s “Beliebers,” Ariana Grande’s “Arianators,” etc. getting into arguments on social media, having a hard time accepting each other’s opinions and being biased to the point where you just want to log out of your account and throw your device out the nearest window because of frustration.

You’re probably wondering “so what’s the big deal?” Why are we bothered that fans have gathered and given themselves a fun little group name?  

Here’s the good thing about stans: if you’re a celebrity and you release something new, your stans will buy it, download it, stream it 24/7, force people to stream it, promote your stuff and definitely annoy others with it.

Now here comes the bad: stalking. If you’re a human being who would like just a little bit of privacy, well, ha! Good luck because that’s not what you get for sharing your talent with the world. Kevin McGlynn was arrested in July 2013, after hand-delivering letters to Rihanna’s Manhattan apartment. He believed he was in a relationship with her.

Kpop has its own breed of stans called “sasaeng fans.” Kpop fans are everywhere; if you have an internet connection, you’ve probably seen a few. “Stan Loona” or “stream BTS,” it’s everywhere! Well sasaeng fans are just pure crazy; they break into hotel rooms, bribe airlines for private flight information, send letters covered in their own blood and many more insane things.

A popular move by stans is threats. No one can critique a certain artist without his lunatic stans threatening to break your limbs online all because you expressed your opinion and tweeted you didn’t like the artist’s latest project as much.

Speaking of cringe, stans in a particular fandom can pull stunts that can just lead up to embarrassment. I’ve personally never watched “Rick and Morty” and nor am I planning on it because of how obnoxious and barbaric their fandom can get at times. There is a reddit post that says “Only people with a high IQ can understand the humor in Rick and Morty.” OK first of all, If “wubba lubba dub dub” and “I’m pickle Rick” is that funny to you then you must be an idiot and a person with a rock bottom IQ. Another stunt that Rick & Morty fans have pulled is absolutely obnoxious was when McDonald’s released a limited edition “Rick & Morty: Szechuan Sauce.” They would go up to the cashier, ask for the sauce, start flopping on the dirty ground like a fish and yell “I’m pickle Rick.” Isn’t that just so absurd and prone to give you the worst headache?

Another stunt by a couple of stans that might also give you a headache is tattoos. I love One Direction: I will always be a superfan, but the line was crossed when a singer, Kelsey Carter, released a song about Harry Styles and got his face tattooed on her whole cheek. Of course the tattoo was proven fake and I’ll admit it was a good publicity stunt, but I can just imagine the amount of 12-13 year olds thinking that it was perfectly fine to get a tattoo like that.

As long as there is a celebrity, there are stans who will pull the most psychotic stunts just to get an ounce of attention from them, which is pathetic.

If you find yourself upset at the content of this post, I think you may need to ask yourself whether or not you’re one of the stans I’m talking about.

If it’s you, it’s OK to be a fan of someone, just tone it down. They don’t know you, they’re just glad you enjoy the work they release. I know it sucks that they don’t acknowledge you, but don’t be an idiot just for the smallest amount of attention.