The Dark Side of Stan Culture

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Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

BTS is known for having a toxic fanbase at times.

Summer Lee, Staff Writer

According to Merriam-Webster, “stan” is defined as “an extremely or excessively enthusiastic and devoted fan.” It originated from the Eminem song, “Stan.” The song is about a person named Stan who becomes obsessed with Eminem. Now, the word “stan” is another word for fans.

Stan culture is becoming more toxic and dangerous. In certain situations, fans go so far as to dox a person for doing something harmless against their favorite celebrity.

BTS, a popular K-pop group, has new fans discovering them every day, which means that there is no way of knowing how their fans are going to act. BTS is known for having a toxic fanbase at times.

https://twitter.com/NidoSprites/status/1200830951217156096

In the tweet above, user @NidoSprites said, “A guy dropped some Kpop CDs on the ground and a Kpop stan proceeded to dox him. This is absolutely abhorrent behavior.”

One reason stans are doxxing people is because of parasocial relationships. Parasocial relationships are one-sided relationships between a figure and a fan.

Celebrities’ online self-disclosure of personal information can make fans feel close and connected to certain celebrities. This connection can make fans feel like they need to protect their idol and dox people who say or do something against their favorite celebrities.

However, fans are not the only ones to blame. Celebrities and companies are guilty of their fans’ behavior. For example, K-pop idols do wake-up calls and repeatedly tell their fans that they love them because of their company’s encouragement.

One way to prevent parasocial relationships from forming is to view these celebrities, idols, and influencers as entertainers and not as friends. This perspective would prevent fans from defending their idol (who did something wrong), and fans would hold celebrities accountable for their wrongdoings.