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The Ins and Outs of Being a Stan

Updated on July 5, 2013
The Man Behind Stan, Eminem.
The Man Behind Stan, Eminem. | Source

What is a Stan?

In 2000, several questions were answered for us. Would the world survive the Y2K scare? Yes. Would another son of a president become president? Yes. Is there a way to be too much of a fan? Definitely.

Now, you may ask the last question doesn't seem that important but it is. A whole cultural movement was based around the vivid premise of a rap song by one Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem.

In 2000, Eminem was riding high off of the success of his sophomore effort, The Marshall Mathers LP with his first two singles becoming monster hits. And then suddenly he dropped an out of left field third single that would ultimately capture the times better than any other song of that era.

Stan is a song about a deranged Eminem fan who becomes so obsessed with Eminem through his music that he decides to actual take the lyrics of Em's songs to heart and attempt to kill his pregnant girlfriend because she runs her mouth too much and irritates Stan. However, Stan really did want Eminem to get this letter he wrote simply because he wants him to know how much he has influenced his life.

As daunting as the premise seems, it is not at all new but Eminem ultimately brought to light what many people knew all along: celebrities inspire a devotion and admiration that is almost hard to fathom unless you see it in action.

And with that one song, Eminem inspired a generation of fandom that has ultimately redefined pop culture.


What Makes a Celebrity Stan-Worthy?

Arguably, the hardest part to define about being a Stan is why someone would be a Stan of a certain celebrity. Usually this comes down to two essential traits: personality and career achievements.

Personality is important to all celebrities mainly because that's their bread and butter in drawing fans in. If you do not relate to the celebrity in some way, the only other factor that would get you to follow them is their career. The aspects of a star's personality that Stans favor are a sense of humor, intellect, ability to not take themselves seriously, and enthusiasm for their work/life. That being said, most celebrities with devoted Stans overwhelmingly tend to be musicians. Musicians are the easiest celebrities to relate to mainly because they put themselves out their via music. And in the past few years musicians are the main stars to benefit from social media outlets such as Twitter. That's not to say that there aren't Stans of other types of celebrities but if you think of a group of a Stans, you probably won't think of an actor or athlete but an artist.

Another attribute of Stan-Worthy celebrities are their actual talents. That may sound strange but in the age of the Kardashians, some celebrities still have to remind the general public that their are real ways of being successful besides homemade videotapes. Some celebrities are known for having one career while others thrive on being multi-hyphenates. Regardless, they all have their followings due to what they do best whether it's make us laugh or make us dance.

That being said the other factor in making a celebrity Stan-Worthy is their actual career. While most Stan bases build up over years of hardwork and loyalty, the new era of social media interaction has allowed for groups of Stans to connect and unite like never before. Stans surely are the first to know for any new release, event, or award nomination. Tracking a career has never been easier due to technology.

Stans may be more easily recognizable but they are far from a new phenomenon.

Stans By Name

Stan Collective Name
Taylor Swift
Britney Spears
Britney Army
Katy Perry
Katy Cats
Jennifer Lopez
Bruno Mars
Rihanna Navy
Justin Bieber
Team Usher
Lady Gaga
Little Monsters

A History of Stans

The song may have came out in 2000, but Stans have long been around in popular culture. Rabid fans first gained the attention of the media in the golden age of Hollywood.

Since the early days of cinema young men and women looked up to those one the Silver Screen in many ways. Actresses such as Clara Bow and Shirley Temple started their own trends and inspired fans to contact them. From there, fan clubs were established for communication between stars and their followers. However, the phenomenon of fan clubs really exploded in the 1950s when rock music entered the scene.

A young man from Tupelo, Mississippi named Elvis Presley changed the world with one swivel of his hips. While his music and antics became the nightmare of parents everywhere, baby boomers reveled in the delight of a true American rebel making his way in music. And with that fan clubs exploded.

Other movements in music and popular culture spurred bigger movements of fans across the world. In the 1960s, when The Beatles entered the music scene the culture of being an super fan kicked into high gear. Finding strength in numbers, they got together to help meet their favorite artists and groups and promote their projects even more.

By the 1970s, with an explosion of teen culture on television and in movies thanks to shows and flicks like Grease and The Partridge Family, Stans gained more attention. At times it would turn deadly as many fans lost their life at concerts and other events.

As the 1980s rolled around, it so happened a little network called MTV changed the face and voice of fan culture. Fans had a direct way to see their favorite musicians promote and perform their music. It also happened to be the era of the highest selling album of all time, Michael Jackson's Thriller. Other artists had massive success due to the MTV's rotation of videos and active fan contests which enabled more communication with the celebrities.

At the same time, it was the era of the teen movie with such classics as Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club- starring the most famous group of young actors since The Rat Pack, The Brat Pack.

Fast forward to the 1990s where shows like MTV's TRL and Fanatic highlighted the joys of being a super fan. It also helped usher fans into the 20th century with online contests and message boards.

As of late, fans have a multitude of platforms online including fansites, message boards, twitter groups, fan fiction sites and more. Being a Stan is no longer confined to writing letters and dialing 1-800 numbers.

Stan Platforms

As it was mentioned before, Stans have various ways of staying informed. Most of them are online and have their own purpose.

Fansites: Quite possibly the most important resource for any fan, but especially Stans. Usually contains information on upcoming projects, television appearances, sightings, and so on.

Message Boards: This is a way for Stans in any fandom to stay united and share their opinion. Most fandoms have several message boards so depending on how you feel you join one or all.

Fan Fiction: These sites are for fans who imagine their favorite celebrity in different situations with everyday people and/or other celebrities.

Twitter Groups/Facebook Pages: Facebook and Twitter are now to the point where anyone seeking to do anything can get a page or account. Usually these are used in the same as fansites but can be faster in getting out up to the minute information.

Even though there are many ways to stay in touch, there are rules to being a Stan.

Rules of Being a Stan

There are several ways to being a Stan in the modern world but that doesn't mean the rules of civility and courtesy don't apply. Here are some rules all Stans should abide by:

  • You Have a Right to Openly Support Your Favorite Celebrity: No matter what anyone thinks of them, what you think of them is why you are a Stan.
  • You Have a Right to Defend Your Celebrity: Just like parents defend their children, it doesn't matter what anyone says, you can speak up for your favorite.
  • Stans Have a Right to Be Critical: Just because they are your favorite celebrity, doesn't mean you agree with every move they make personally or professionally- sometimes it's healthy to agree or disagree.
  • Stans Have a Right to Respect Casual Fans and Stans of Other Fandoms: One thing that is constantly present in this culture of internet critics, is that some Stans are not only disrespecting themselves but the identity of the fan base by being overly crtical to fans who aren't as devoted to the celebrity but more importantly fans of other celebrities. Sometimes it's best to keep your thoughts to yourself.
  • Stans Have a Right to enjoy being a Stan: Sometimes being a fan is like being the most complicated long distance relationship ever. You may not meet your celebrity but you spend a lot of time feeling like you know them, but you always remember the times they made you laugh, the times they made you think, and the times they made you move.

Whether you are a Stan or not, the impact super fans have had on popular culture is quite remarkable. And we've only just begun.

To Stan or Not to Stan

Are You a Stan

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    • Sharp Points profile image

      Sharp Points 3 years ago from Big Bear Lake, California

      Funny article i enjoyed it.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi thumbi,

      I'm glad you found this informative. Thanks for coming by and commenting :).

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 4 years ago from India

      I was not aware of this terminology. I learnt a lot of new things from your article.

      Thanks for sharing

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Learn Things Web,

      Unfortunately there are some crazy stans who don't respect other artists or fans. Those are the ones who take things way too far! Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • Learn Things Web profile image

      Learn Things Web 4 years ago from California

      I became aware of the term stan from being exposed to Little Monsters in the comments sections of YouTube. The extreme ones try to tear down any female singer who isn't Lady Gaga. They'll go on the attack on Twitter if anyone says anything bad about her.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi My Mind Speaks,

      I agree completely. Some fans take it too far. Being a fan is definitely not violating the law for. It all starts with respect. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting!

    • My Mind Speaks profile image

      Victoria 4 years ago from Long Island N.Y

      Def an interesting article. I like some others, didn't know what a stan was, low & behold I find out that I myself am a stan lol! Well, you learn something new everyday! I've been an Eminem fan since my early teenage years. I just started high school when he started to become popular,and his music played the soundtrack to every single feeling I've ever had when I was struggling through those years. I would actually go as far as to say that he probably even saved my life through one of my darkest times. Music in general is my favorite thing on the planet, and when thinking of my favorite artist, Eminem always comes in at number 1 on my list. I'm glad you brought further attention though to the fact that some people who are fan's or stans, take it too far sometimes. I've read comments on public forums (such as yahoo) and I've literally been shocked by some of the responses. I really truly love & appreciate Eminem's talent & all but I'm not going to threaten to murder someone over him. I think Eminem helped to make everyone aware of what a "healthy" appreciation for an artist is and what an obsession is. The scary thing is, w/ the way things are now it seems like people will keep upping the anti for their own piece of stardom, and in turn some people (kardashian, amanda bynes, etc) will keep allowing certain things from people & themselves in order to keep whatever stardom they already have.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Jeannieinabottle,

      I hear what you're saying. I'm a Stan but not all the time. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I did not even realize what a Stan was until reading this. In the past, I've been a little obsessed with certain bands or maybe a book series (umm... yeah... Twilight) but I am happy to say I am not a Stan or any other obsessed fan right now! Interesting hub and voted up!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Nell,

      I understand. Very few artists hold your attention for longer than a few years but if the music's good, it's reason enough to stay invested. What's amazing is how many people are fanatics now that connect due to the internet. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      This was fascinating, and I do remember the Eminem song, it was brilliant! The only time I was really fan-tastic, lol!, was when I was a young teen then I belonged to fan clubs got all the posters etc, but later I just wanted to listen to the music and not really take notice of the singer so much, voted up and shared, nell

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Michelle,

      Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Vellur,

      It is very amazing. Thank you so much :).

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      It is amazing how people can be die hard fans and go to any extent. An interesting post and an engaging read. Great hub, voted up.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      You are right, I believe that we have to have the talent before someone would become so crazed about us! Thanks for sharing with us, Alecia, this was interesting!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Cogerson,

      I think Stans are common but not everyone recognizes the name. Since the days of old Hollywood, stars have had rabid fans. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting :).

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 4 years ago from Virginia

      A very interesting hub on a subject that I was completly unaware of before you well written hub has me expanding my knowledge. As mary615 lack of information on subjects like "Stans" makes me realize that I am getting older and out of touch with you Voted up and across the board.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Mary,

      I'm glad you enjoyed it :)!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      When I read Hubs like this, I realize how "out of touch" I am with the younger generation. I just learned something new today!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi truthfornow,

      You're right there's a team everything on Twitter. Thanks for responding.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Janetwrites,

      Thanks for coming by and commenting :). I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      If you go on twitter, you can find a Stan for every famous person out there. #Team whatever. Nice job.

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 4 years ago from Georgia country

      I knew the term Stan from Eminem's song but didn't really know what it meant. Reading your interesting and entertaining hub made it clear for me. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks so much teaches12345!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      This is the first I have heard of this term. It is interesting to know how fans can support their favorite celebrity. Your work is excellent.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you so much Lybrah :)!

    • profile image

      Lybrah 4 years ago

      This is the most awesomest hub! I love the topic; wish I'd thought of it first!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Alocsin,

      I'm glad you found this informative! Thanks for coming by and commenting :).

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I wasn't aware of this bit of pop culture, Alecia, and this is the first time that I've come across the term. Thanks for the explanation. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Sunshine,

      I have yet to meet a Kardashian Stan, unless someone I know is in the Kardashian Stan closet. I didn't know KU stans were called monkeys- I loved monkeys as a kid. I should just call myself monkey :). Thanks for reading : ).

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I'm a Stan and I didn't even know that I was a Stan of Eminem! I am aslo a proud Stan of Keith Urban in Monkeyville, which makes me a Monkey! I tend to be a Little Monster at times too! What a fun hub...I had a blast learning about fellow Stans. BTW...I'd never, ever, ever be a Kardashian Stan.


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