|Synonyms:||fan, stannie, standom|
|See also:||Groupie, Super Fan, Fandom Nickname, OTC, sasaeng, Fan Army, K-Pop Stan Twitter, Actor Fan|
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Stan means an obsessive fan. It is a portmanteau of the words stalker and fan and is the name of an obsessed fan in the 2000 Eminem song of the same name. The term has evolved and is also a verb, as in "I stan X"; to stan is to be an obsessive fan. Stan has also become a more widely used term replacing "fan" in some fandoms circa 2020, such as MCYT where anyone who likes a specific creator can be called a "stan," even if they're not obsessive. Thus, usage also varies across fandom.
"(...)However, the first recorded mentions of stan behaviour was when Hungarian pianist and composer from the 19th century, Franz Liszt, gained heavy and rapid exposure, creating Lisztomania or Liszt fever. Hip hop artist Nas had also brought the term up in his song ‘Ether’ that was released in 2001. Since then, the word started to spread especially amongst online dwellers; forums, fan clubs and media soon adopted the word and slowly making it synonymous with fandoms."The origin of stan cultureThe origin of stan culture — The Finery Report, Archived version
"(...)It’s not necessarily a new phenomenon. If you think of Beatlemania, that was a form of Stan culture. But the difference now is you’re all online and the majority of this takes place online.” (...)“In the last few years there’s been a number of instances in which pop stars and their fans have kind of organised en masse to do some kind of positive things, like get their single to up to the top of the charts, or negative things, which is what we’re seeing more recently, which is bombard and harass journalists over what seem to be negative reviews.”Jules LeFevre, music editor of Junkee.com in AustraliaThe dark side of Stan culture, Archived version
It is commonly heard on ONTD (OH NO THEY DIDN'T), a LiveJournal community for celebrity gossip, and may have originated there.
On LiveJournal anon memes the term is often applied to fans who display a loyalty or interest in other fans. Saying that someone is a [fan name]stan implies a level of partisan support of the fan in question that goes beyond merely liking their fic.
Stan Culture, Cancel Culture and toxic fandom
The term has become more widely used in the mainstream in recent years. It is extremely common for fans of singers and musicians to use the term. In many fandoms and media, the stan culture is considered as toxic.
"(...)Donating widely to charities and boosting information about the Black Lives Matter movement are uncomplicated, unmixed blessings, the kind of inspirational causes that the internet should rally around more often.Stop Celebrating Stan Culture. It's Toxic., Archived version
But the problem arises when we ignore the history of modern standom, and how frequently stans have rallied themselves around other, much less admirable causes.Too frequently in the past, stans have perpetuated the worst of cancel culture. They have made systemic issues into personal ones; attempted to solve complex problems by bullying individuals off Twitter, and tried to ruin people’s lives. They rarely demonstrate any understanding of forgiveness or personal transformation. They have been thin-skinned. They have shouted down anyone who has tried to attack their idols. And they have spread rumours and falsehoods."
"(...)Fan behaviours have moved from public spaces to online ones. Networks now are semi-permanent and easier for anyone to join and use. The speed at which interactions happen is more intense than ever; you can tweet in an instant. We now see fans and stans as obstinately present, and the anonymous, more colourful or aggressive sides of fan emotions are fully on display. When they act as is deemed inappropriate by people outside of the fanbase, the details are more visible, their behaviours easier to point fingers at en masse. If we should police stan culture, how do you temper something that’s built inherently into the fibre of not just fandom, but music culture itself? Stan has become shorthand for extreme or dangerous fans, and despite there being very dark sides to fandoms, I don’t think it should be a dirty word.Stan culture is as old as pop music itself, Archived version
"(...)However, there are negative perceptions associated with being a stan, which originated from ‘fanwars’ and a stan’s overprotectiveness over their idols. These happen when stans start arguing with stans of different artists who are either perceived as rivals, have somehow offended them, or have been proven (or in some cases, ‘believed’) to be problematic in general. Fanwars also occur when stans are trying to defend their faves during a controversy or scandal involving their faves.The origin of stan culture — The Finery Report, Archived version
The negative connotation of the word stan, although often deemed unfair, was not unfounded. Over the years, stans’ influence and power have been increasing significantly, partly due to the support from their faves, even when their stans behave morbidly and start attacking people left and right.
For example, Game of Thrones fans were rather upset with how season eight of the show progressed. They went as far as to start a petition to remake season eight “with competent writers,” which received over 1.7 million signatures.
Stans, when defending their faves, will sometimes regress to being insensitive bullies, and their criticisms morphed into death threats.
Huffington Post wrote that Toronto freelance writer Wanna Thompson, who often writes about hip-hop, discovered this over the summer when she wrote a tweet that was mildly critical of Nicki Minaj's music. The responses from the rapper's fans weren't musical or cultural comments; they weren't well-reasoned arguments. They were straight-up insults and harassment directed to her not just on Twitter but also on Facebook, on Instagram, by email, and to her personal email. Some included photos of her four-year-old daughter. Others told her to kill herself. The rapper herself even joined in.Star Wars stans, which could be seen as one of the biggest movie franchise stans, post and flooded Kelly Marie Tran with so much hate. They post racist and abusive comments, prompting her to leave social media for good after enduring months of harassment."
"(...)Stan culture has encouraged fans to obsess over celebrities and it’s given them a sense of entitlement towards them. For some reason, it seems like stans feel a sense of ownership about their chosen celebrity and it’s disturbing. Unfortunately, these obsessions have led to real violence. Singer and Youtuber Christina Grimmie who appeared on ‘The Voice’ was murdered by a crazed fan during a meet-and-greet after a concert in 2016. On the other side, stans are developing unhealthy attachments to celebrities which fuel toxic behavior. They’ve formed their own communities where they discuss the object of their affection and attack other celebrities and their fanbases. Justin Bieber has the “Beliebers,” Taylor Swift has the “Swifties,” Nicki Minaj has the “Barbz” and there are countless more for different celebrities."Stan culture is unhealthy for celebrities and fans by Shelby Stevens
Meta & Further Reading
- Stan Twitter on Wikipedia
- Stan Culture Words You Should Know - 12 Stan Culture Words, Defined, Archived version
- The dark side of Stan culture From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:41 pm on 3 September 2020, Archived version
- Understanding K-pop Stans, Stan Culture and What Makes Them so Powerful Jun 22, 2020, Archived version
- Why The Normalization of Stan Culture is Unhealthy - How a tweet about Ariana Grande made me realize the extent of harm this subculture has done. by Haaniyah Angus, Jan 27, 2019, Archived version
- Why Stan Culture Is Problematic? by Sanjana Gupta, Archived version
- What Is 'Stan' Culture And How Did It Help Ariana Grande's 'Thank u, next'? 29 NOVEMBER, 2018.BY MEG MULCAHY.
- Stan culture is unhealthy for celebrities and fans – North Texas Daily, Archived version
- Steven Universe Critical was an inner-fandom "war" between "SU crits" and "SU stans."
- Dream is a Minecraft YouTuber who has been vocally supportive of his stans
- Among his biggest fans, Johnny Depp has already won his case by Emily Yahr and Travis M. Andrews (Washington Post) (May 4, 2022)
- Kpop Secrets! - what does stan mean?, tumblr post on 16 May 2010. (Accessed July 16, 2010)
- See: Wikipedia:Stan (song)
- NYTimes, Scratching the Celebrity Itch “Stans are a built-in support system,” said Tamar Anitai, the managing editor of MTV’s Web site. “They are very much aware of how the public sees this person, and they are here to protect him or her.” Posted October 5, 2011. Last accessed October 19, 2011.
- ONTD, NYT writes about stans. No, they really do. lol this is a respected newspaper? how bored do you have to be to write an article on stanning anyway jfc. Posted October 5, 2011. Last accessed October 19, 2011.