Am I finally ready to step into the role I know I could succeed at so well…..stan in chief.
Stan culture is a fascinating phenomenon that I’ve always watched from a distance—maybe dipping a toe into—but never fully submerging my self. Now I say phenomenon because although stan culture arguably did exist pre-twitter, pre-instagram, pre-social media—the internet’s pretty much catapulted it into an arena that’s so insanely powerful that anyone that holds a seat on a board or committee of music, fashion, or politics should be shaking. Remember when leader of BTS spoke in front of The UN?
There’s no real way around it, no true way to dodge it, it just is. Whether it’s a photo of Ariana and her mini-pig, or a tweet from a government entity, you’re sure to find a tweet from an account with an edited celebrity icon in the replies talking about streaming an album, or fighting for the rights for others. It’s truly insane. Click further and you’ll see the bio that almost 9/10 has something mentioning said-celebrity recognizing them in some way—either via follow, like, or DM. And can I just say, every time I see that I’m a little shook.
I seriously don’t believe people when they say they don’t have a celeb crush, or don’t have someone they’d absolutely have an internal meltdown about if their paths were to cross. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me. Nor does the argument about pop culture being a daft, useless arena of society. If anything, it’s basically been proven how influential pop culture is in our society from what you wear to who you go to vote for at the polls. The difference however between acknowledging your no-questions-asked celebrity fav and being a stan are vast.
If you’re scratching your head, or already have a tab open googling it, first of all I’m sorry it’s taken me this long—but also judging you for not knowing even a smidgen of what a stan is. The term stan was coined by—yup—Eminem, back in like 1999/2000. Stan was a song by Eminem which touches on a crazed fan trying to contact Eminem.
“Dear Slim, I wrote you but still ain't callin'
I left my cell, my pager, and my home phone at the bottom
I sent two letters back in autumn, you must not-a got 'em
There probably was a problem at the post office or somethin'
Sometimes I scribble addresses too sloppy when I jot 'em
But anyways, fuck it, what's been up? Man how's your daughter?
My girlfriend's pregnant too, I'm 'bout to be a father
If I have a daughter, guess what I'm a call her?
I'ma name her Bonnie
I read about your Uncle Ronnie too I'm sorry
I had a friend kill himself over some bitch who didn't want him
I know you probably hear this everyday, but I'm your biggest fan
I even got the underground shit that you did with Skam
I got a room full of your posters and your pictures man
I like the shit you did with Rawkus too, that shit was fat
Anyways, I hope you get this man, hit me back,
Just to chat, truly yours, your biggest fan
This is Stan”
As you can see, a stan is someone who is more than a fan. More like a ride or die. Like literally ride or DIE. They’re with you through thick and thin, WILL buy your album even though they can also stream it for free (which BTW—will be on constant loop via streaming services to make sure you get your 2 cent revenue.) If a stan doesn’t have another account dedicated solely to you, then they’re pretty public about their declaration of love for you on their normal, first name last name account where friends, family, and maybe even coworkers (ew) follow you.
They’re pretty much braver than you-know-who 👀
Even if you don’t have a presence on the internet, stans will find a way to know what you did the past week, who you were wearing, and yes, if you have a ‘secret’ girlfriend or boyfriend. Which brings us back to the beauty of the internet, and the phenomenon of it (stan culture) all. Popularly stanned celebs like Rami Malek and Jake Gyllenhaal have virtually no internet presence. Jake has a facebook he occasionally posts on and Rami has a twitter with like 200 tweets—it doesn’t count. HOWEVER, there are still hardcore dedicated stans in the building at ALL times. One search on Twitter and you’ll see stans who met them that day, you’ll find out they recently made the switch to AirPods—sometimes you’ll even find out that not only are they Spotify subscribers, but also that someone discovered their secret Spotify account. Yeah I follow one.W H O C A R E S.
So what pulls me in you might ask? Well, the thrill of it all. Stan culture thrives on many things like content from said celeb (music, movies, photos, videos.) But it also thrives on humor and drama. What’s NOT to love? I often find myself scrolling through twitter just laughing out loud seeing things like this:
If this is what reading the daily newspaper has become, I’m a forever subscriber.
Now this is my “SO WHAT"?” part of this piece. I hope my high school teachers are proud I still have half a brain cell to remember things like this. And yes when I spelled brain I first spelled it as Brian and didn’t realize for a good minute.
Sometimes when I do the occasional search, there’s a part of me that realizes this is truly a blackhole that you could get stuck in for like, ever. And I also recognize that the blackhole could cause you to get into this mindset that projects your expectations, dreams, etc onto your fav in a really messed up way, forever ruing you if you do ever get the chance to meet. So do I wanna fall down it? Just a little? Am I ready to make a second account, edit my fav celeb photo and plaster it on as my icon, all systems-go to tweet my undying love for my favs? Maybe not JUST yet—but GOD it’s seriously so persuasive.
There are people who have literally become friends via stan twitter, met up at the concerts, and become forever friends. There are also people who have never met, probably won’t ever meet, but are attached at the imaginary hip through social media, sharing photos of their favs, cry-laughing at responses other stans have sent out, and making their own which somehow always end up on a Buzzfeed listical. So maybe it’s the community that really draws me in, and millions of others. Knowing that regardless of timezone, race, gender, religion, etc., you’re ready to go to war for your fav.
I find it so fascinating, and yet so understandable. I get it, I truly do.
So is this the modern day love story? Maybe it’s actually not even about the fav, but the relationship the stans have with one another. And maybe this is how we’re going to meet our SO—whether it’s friendship or relationship…
What I do know, after everything, is that if you look at the Harry teef meme and laugh so hard that it comes out silent—almost thinking you’re going to die from laughing so hard, DM ME.