Why stan culture is harmful, toxic and ultimately, needs to die

Why stan culture is harmful, toxic and ultimately, needs to die

As the Beyhive carry out a coordinated attack on yet another undeserving victim, we examine stan culture and why it is possibly, one of the most toxic things in existence.

Stan culture originated from Eminem's hit song 'Stan' which told the tale of a fan, obsessed with the Slim Shady himself.

It was an incredible work of art that defined a moment in hip-hop as a whole but the word 'stan' became synonymous with a crazed or obsessed fan who would go to great lengths to obsess over a celebrity.

Whilst 'Stan' wrote letters to Eminem, the birth of social media means that fans have instant access to their idols and the ability to hide behind a keyboard has created a legion of faceless individuals who are able to anonymously spew hate in the name of their 'fave'.

The latest incident involves Beyonce's legion of fans, the Beyhive, who are known for being merciless towards anyone who they perceive to messing with their Queen B. The latest victim is Nicole Curran, wife of Golden State Warriors owner who was spotted leaning over Beyonce to speak to Jay-Z at a basketball game. It didn't matter that Beyonce and Jay- Z were gusts of the couple, the Beyhive buzzed into action, prompting Beyonce's publicist to put out a statement.

Beyonce's publicist Yvette Noel-Schure called out the singer's dedicated army of fans for 'spewing hate' towards Nicole Curran.

The wife of Golden State Warriors' owner, 50, has revealed she's had to shut down her social media accounts after receiving death threats following a viral clip of Beyonce appearing to get annoyed at her because she was chatting to her husband Jay-Z.

And now the singer's longtime publicist Yvette has condemned the actions of the The Beyhive, informing them that she understood their 'love for Beyonce runs deep' but 'love has to be given to every human.'

In an impassioned caption on Instagram, Nicole wrote, "I am looking back today at the start of The OTRII tour, one year ago. It was a place of joy, unimaginable entertainment from two of the best performers in the world, and a place of love. Every single day on that tour I saw love. Which is why I also want to speak here to the beautiful BeyHiVE. I know your love runs deep but that love has to be given to every human. It will bring no joy to the person you love so much if you spew hate in her name. We love you."


This comes after Nicole admitted she has been cyber bullied following the viral clip and explained to DailyMail.com that she was merely getting Jay's drink order.  Nicole said the A-list couple were invited as guests of her and her husband Joe Lacob to watch Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

Curran revealed: "I have been cyber bullied and think it is very unfair. They were our guests last night. As a hostess, I offered her a drink and then him one as we don't have floor service at our games. I had to lean in to hear what he wanted. That is it. No story. Just bullying."

This latest incident, one of many, is indicative of how toxic stan culture has become and why it does more damage than it does in the long run. Impressionable young fans are being drawn into these obsessive one-way relationships with celebrities and acting out on their behalf, often without prompting.

Before the advent of the digital age fans of celebrities, musicians, even sports stars did not have the means to access their idols, however, social media has created a space for instant gratification and the dangerous access to information with little context. In this vein, when celebrities give out information or just post something, fans get up in arms about it in no time at all over the Internet, allowing for stan culture and obsessive behaviour to expand faster than ever before.


Why Stan Culture Must Die

Social media also means people are allowed to freely share their opinions about everything and put themselves in a position to be instantly challenged by those who don't share similar views. Furthermore, the stans were mostly outliers in the past, 6as the very extreme of the fan spectrum but now, they have become, if anything, the norm and come to the forefront partially due to the growth of social media where they can easily find and empower each other through fan communities.

So, why is stan culture so bad? Well, it is culture also notorious for extreme actions, such as sending harassing and inflammatory message and threatening others. Stans are often vicious when provoked and display worrying anti-social behaviour.

What many psychological professionals would describe this as is a parasocial relationship. This is not an imaginary disorder or an imaginary diagnosis, but it's the official definition of a relationship many people have with famous figures. Parasocial relationships are one-sided dynamics in which energy, interest and time are extended towards the object of obsession whilst they (commonly a celebrity) remain ignorant of the existence of the other.

Most parasocial relationships are completely harmless, the equivalent of caring just a bit too much about the status of your favourite celebrity couple. However, there are cases of extreme parasocial relationships cross the line into stalking or other threatening behaviour, symbolic of stan culture in its entirety,

Its important that Beyonce put out a public statement condemning the actions of her rogue fans however, if we are going to quell stan culture altogether, all celebrities need to take the same stance.

Ultimately, stan culture promotes unhealthy attachment and anti-social behaviour and needs to be stopped, the culture needs to die.


This article was first published on Pulse Nigeria

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