#BallGate and the toxicity of stan culture


Source: Pixabay

Maida Suta, Reporter

With the rise of social media fostering a safe place for people to come together over their joined interests, it has also propagated stan culture, the intensely toxic and ugly amalgamation of unhealthy and obsessive behaviors. I can confidently say it is arguably one of the worst and most horrifying transformations of celebrity culture.

The term stan was initially short for stalker fan, and had a much harsher connotation in the past due to its origin. It has now entered the lexicon of the youth as a catchy stand-in for the word fan, which I have also used to describe myself.

However, the issue arises in stan culture’s intense worship of celebrities and the belief that they can do nothing wrong.

Recently, Nicki Minaj, for example, posted on Twitter about her cousin’s friend allegedly becoming impotent due to the COVID vaccine, with said friend’s fiance calling off their soon to be wedding as a result.

Minaj proceeded to doxx two journalists investigating the newly called #BallGate, and fans decided that the best course of action would be to harass and send death threats to the two journalists for attempting to verify the claims made by their favorite celebrity. 

Stan culture has emboldened fans beyond rationality, and has managed to desensitize children, teens, and adults alike to unbelievable amounts of harassment, and this wouldn’t even be the first time Minaj’s fans have gone out of their way to harass a journalist.

There’s nothing wrong with being a big fan of a celebrity. There is something significantly wrong if you believe that you are justified in harassing and threatening others in their defense.

Stan culture is formed on a fundamentally unstable platform which perpetuates the idea that celebrities are infallible, bordering on obsessive idol-worship that benefits neither the stans nor the celebrities. 

At no point should you stake your life and your mental health on the parasocial relationship you have developed with a celebrity. Nicki Minaj isn’t going to pat you on the back and reward you for telling two journalists, who were only doing their job, to kill themselves. 

At some point you have to step back and wonder if any of it is worth the lives it can affect. From the seen effects and people targeted by stan culture’s experiences, it should become clear that it most certainly isn’t.