I need to write this down.
Okay, I’m 30 years old (as of the writing of this post) and I’d like to think I’m pretty up to date on most slang (obviously NOT all).
But we need to talk about this one word: Stans.
I put off actually looking up this word because I knew it was a new word for fan (like completely substituting the word), but I didn’t understand why? Why was this word chosen to be the new word for fan?
From my understanding it’s another word for obsessed fans. Okay. Fine. But what bothers me is that apparently the origination of this word is from the Eminem song “Stan”……..
I have a problem with this. That song IS about an obsessed fan. Fair. BUT! It’s not something to be celebrated. And I know people are thinking “It’s just a word, it’s not a big deal. Don’t be overdramatic.”
Well, shoot, you’re right. I’m overreacting in my old age. (This is sarcasm, BTW)
It’s perfectly normal to idolize your heroes and celebrities. I do, too. That’s not the issue. The issue is the subject matter of the song being taken lightly or celebrated as normal. Eminem wrote that song for a specific reason, to warn against being a Stan, to warn against becoming too blinded by your idols and your love for them…to becoming too OBSESSED.
Here’s two sections from the song I think are important. The first bit is from the perspective of Stan:
“And all I wanted was a lousy letter or a call
I hope you know I ripped all of your pictures off the wall
I love you Slim, we coulda been together, think about it
You ruined it now, I hope you can’t sleep and you dream about it
And when you dream I hope you can’t sleep and you scream about it
I hope your conscience eats at you and you can’t breathe without me”
This bit is from the perspective of Eminem:
“Before you hurt yourself, I think that you’ll be doin’ just fine
If you relax a little, I’m glad I inspire you but Stan
Why are you so mad? Try to understand, that I do want you as a fan
I just don’t want you to do some crazy shit”
I kept out the part where Stan talks about his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of the car and his driving while drunk. Spoilers: Stan drives the car off a bridge killing himself and his pregnant girlfriend. Why? Because Eminem didn’t give his fan enough attention. Because Stan was obsessed with Eminem.
I was in middle school when this song came out and like everyone my age, I loved this song (against my parents’ wishes of course). I was an Eminem fan. For those of you surprised by this, shame on you. I like all genres of music.
Did I truly understand what the song was about? A little, but it was the time before social media. Obsessive fans existed, but weren’t as celebrated/public as they are now. Also, I was eleven so even if I knew every word to the song, it didn’t really click in my brain the truth of it.
It wasn’t as easy to stalk your idols back then (back then? HAH). It wasn’t as easy to know every little detail about your idols.
Anybut, HERE IS THE PROBLEM!
Social media has allowed fans to get closer than ever to their idols, their heroes, or the people who inspire them. I’M NOT KNOCKING SOCIAL MEDIA…..yet. But this new idea of ravenous fans feeling…and I HATE using this word…entitled to the subject of their love is becoming dangerous.
But there have always been ravenous fans. That’s not something new. Remember Beatlemania? Boy bands during the early 2000s? Bieber Fever?
Okay, that last one is considered part of the social media machine. Also, how dare you assume I was alive during Beatlemania.
But does that excuse the behavior of those fans? No. Beatlemania was crazy, sure, but I feel like…the more accessible celebrities (and yes, I’m including social media celebrities in this, too) become the more entitlement fans feel.
Celebrating being a “Stan” is so alien to me. Mostly because it’s coming from a generation where the song wasn’t new, wasn’t popular (not to say it isn’t popular now, but it isn’t new). I don’t think they truly understand what it means, the warnings in the song.
And maybe they do! I don’t know. I know none of my close friends know the term, but they remember that song. If nothing else, they remember the music video which if you haven’t seen it…see it. It’s rough.
Okay, that’s the end of my rant. My old person rant….ha.