A stan is an overzealous fan and supporter of a celebrity, mostly commonly a pop singer. The object of the stan's affection is called their bias. Based on the song "Stan" by rap artist, Eminem, the term has been used to describe fans that match the severity of the character in Eminem's song, whose name is Stan. The word has been described as a portmanteau of "stalker" and "fan."
Discussing stans, Sam Lansky, Grantland.com journalist Sam Lansky stated:
Stans are prone to hyperbole and extremism: In stan parlance, the chart success of Britney Spears...means she's rendering all of your faves irrelevant, while the commercial underperformance of Keri Hilson's last album means she’s fated to live out her days mopping the floors at a Decatur Walmart. But among fans of mainstream American artists, stan culture is primarily limited to the annals of forums, Tumblr, and Twitter; then there are occasional outliers, like Directioners who hide on a tour buses or middle-aged men who show up at the homes of Disney triple threats.
David Russell, an artist manager at IE:Music compared stan culture to the affiliations between fans of sports teams. Twitter users have come to include the word in hashtag trends, such as "Is it sad I’ve been thinking about Beyoncé almost all day at work? #stanproblems". A website known as "Stan Wars" or "stanipedia" sprouted up to host discussions and flame wars between rival fanbases. In a response to stan culture, David Monger, an amateur cartoonist developed a web series on YouTube titled "The Nekci Menij Show". The show strives to satirize public perceptions of female pop stars, simultaneously parodying it. The series features pop stars such as Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Kesha, Lady Gaga, Adele, and many more. The series employs an artistic style reminiscent of the Dolan Duck Internet meme.
Colloquially, the term can be used as both a noun or a verb. Stans of a particular singer are often given more detailed names, such as "Little monsters" for fans of Lady Gaga "Belieber" for fans of Justin Bieber and "KatyCats" for fans of Katy Perry. Some artists, however, do not have specific titles attributed to their stans; fans of Kylie Minogue have been called Kylie Stans. Even for fandoms with specific titles, the "artist stan" formula still applies. 'Stan' is the official name of the Eminem fan base, after his song about an obsessed fan in 2000. It is common to find that Eminem's 'Stans' will become highly irritated by other fan bases using the term
Usually appearing on social media networks such as Twitter and Tumblr, the phenomenon does appear in K-Pop circles offline. In one instance, K-pop singer Yunho, of duo TVXQ, was poisoned when his stans snuck backstage before one of his concerts. Yunho was hospitalized and the perpetrator was arrested. The term sasaeng fan in Korean is believed to be influenced by "stan" culture. Etymologically, it translates to "Sa", meaning private and "saeng" meaning life, in reference to fans' all-encompassing obsessions with their preferred artists.
Celebrities have reacted to their "stan" followings. Notably, English singer-songwriter Jessie J had this to say about her stans, "They're amazing, and they're the only reason I'm here at the VMAs and people know who I am," she said. "They support me and buy my albums and singles, and they stand outside hotels, and they come to shows, and they get tattoos of my lyrics and they cut their hair like me. You have to love your fans. That's why I call them my Heartbeats, because without them i wouldn't be here." In 2012, a stan for Jessie J broke their leg to emulate her own leg injury. The fan tracked down Jessie J's personal address and sent her a photograph of the self-inflicted injury. The singer responded to the event with horror and decided to increase her security.
Popular stan groups
- "Animals" – Kesha
- "Barbz" for female fans, "Kenz" for male fans – Nicki Minaj
- "Beliebers" – Justin Bieber
- "BeyHive" – Beyoncé (refers to her fanbase as a whole)
- "Britney Army" – Britney Spears (refers to her fanbase as a whole)
- "Crazy Cats" – Pixie Lott
- "Diamonds" – Marina and the Diamonds
- "Directioners" – One Direction
- "Fighter" – Christina Aguilera
- "Jepsies" – Carly Rae Jepsen
- "JLovers" – Jennifer Lopez
- "KatyCats" – Katy Perry
- "Lambs" – Mariah Carey
- "Little Monsters" – Lady Gaga
- "Lovatics" – Demi Lovato
- "Rihanna Navy" – Rihanna (refers to her fanbase as a whole)
- "Soldiers" – Cheryl Cole
- "Stans" – Eminem
- "Trainwrecks" – Porcelain Black
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