Is Stan Culture Toxic?

Story By: Natalie Gallegos, Reporter

I don’t hate stans nor do I believe stan culture is toxic, but I truly think it becomes unhealthy when people go out of their way to harass celebrities. 

As you scroll through Twitter and other social media platforms, you might find yourself looking at ‘Stan Twitter’, ‘Stan Culture’ or you might actually be a stan yourself. 

This term came from an Eminem song in 2002 called “Stan”, which tells the story of an Eminem obsessed fan who writes letters to his idol and admits to doing continuous illegal acts.  

As the song continues, Stan feels ignored when he does not hear back from Eminem. His obsession leads to murderous acts and even his own death.

Today, stan is a term used as another word for “fan”, but it is not as wild as Eminem’s character portrays it to be. In simple terms, stan is just an exaggerated term for a really big fan.

An example would be K-pop group BTS, who have 24.2 million followers on Twitter. They are known to have a big fan base full of stans who keep up with the latest news about them. 

Being around groups of people who consider themselves stans of different celebrities or influencers, I’ve learned that stan culture can be a really good place.

Friendships are made, people bond over their favorite celebrities and it gives people the opportunity to meet new people.

“I have made many friends because of stan culture and the fandoms that come with it,” said sophomore Adilenne Torres, Biology major, and stan of Harry Styles.

“Many of my closest friendships are a result of these fandoms and having that one thing in common, that generates happiness in all of us,” Torres said.

According to Torres, stan culture can make people feel accepted for who they are. Torres has attended multiple Harry Styles concerts. She describes that as the crowd lights up in rainbow colors, the arena creates a sense of unity and acceptance. 

“Anyone of any race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, every single person there is accepted and can feel loved, and we all unite together for the reason that we all love Harry and his music,” Torres said. 

Generally, stans are extremely nice, respectful, and they know not to cross boundaries when it comes to their idols. 

But not everyone plays by those rules. A scroll through Twitter and you will find not so respectful stans who will even show up to their favorite celebrities houses, invading their privacy.

Last year, YouTubers Ethan and Grayson Dolan lost their father to cancer. The twins had tweeted fans not to show up to the funeral and to simply show their support through social media.

But some stans saw the funeral as an opportunity to meet the influencers and even decided to create a list of ways they would approach the twins. 

They went as far to create the hashtag #SeanDolanFuneralMeetup2019 for people to organize their plans. 

In response Ethan Dolan tweeted, “If you are a fan of Grayson and I we love you and appreciate you so much. The best way you could support us during this tough time is to NOT show up at our father’s wake or funeral. Thank you guys and please please please respect my wish.”

I found many things wrong with this and was extremely shocked to see how far a person would go just to meet their idols.

Of course, this behavior does not apply to all stans, but it makes me wonder how someone can think these disturbing acts are OK.