toxic stan red flag

6 Red Flags Every Stan Should Avoid

Being rude online is not going to get you a backstage pass.

Toxic stan culture is a plague that has ruined so many good things in life. But it can be prevented by moving away from the dark side of stanning.

Related: Here’s A Reminder That You Shouldn’t Always Take Everything You See On Social Media At Face Value

Even if you are just a casual user of social media, you probably know what a stan and stan culture are. Derived from the hit Eminem song of the same name, a stan is someone who considers themselves a fan of something, whether it be a person, place, thing, or object. More commonly though, stan is used to describe dedicated fans of celebrities and pop culture figures. A stan isn’t just a fan, but a diehard supporter who is willing to go to great lengths to show their love for a specific artist. 

Love it or hate it, stans and stan culture are part of the fabric of social media. With social media, stans have more power to engage with their favorite artists, often on a more personal level. But time and time again we see stan culture proving to be a source of toxicity online. 

Yes, stan culture can and has done good work and been a source of change and advocacy. But when the darker side of stan culture bubbles to the surface, it blurs the lines between supporting an artist and adding more negativity to an already toxic landscape. The relationship between an artist and their fans is unlike before, but that shouldn’t be a free pass to turn social media into a warzone for your fave. So, whether you consider yourself a stan or would just like to navigate social media in peace, here are a few red flags that should absolutely be avoided to practice healthier stanning.  



We see it time and time again, especially in the realm of music stans. It’s a common sight for stans to start fights and fan wars by insulting other artists in the name of making their fave look good, as if everything is a competition. This behavior is worse for female musicians, especially female pop stars, who are often dragged through the mud as they are pitted against each other. If you think that your fave is going to appreciate you putting other artists down to bring them up, we’ve got news for you, bestie. 

Life is not a competition, so there’s no need to think that your favorite artist is in some sort of race to rack up the most points. What matters is the art and entertainment, not chart placement, viewership, box office take, or sales figures. Life really is so much better when you stop bringing other artists down for your fave’s benefit and just enjoy the content.  



Stans are very protective of their fave artist. So, when they feel that there was disrespect directed towards that artist, they engage to defend their fave. It’s normal and even ok for fans to call out rude and disrespectful things done towards an artist. But there is a fine line between calling out bad behavior and harassing someone who expressed their disagreement towards the artist. FYI, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and sayings like “I don’t like X artist” or “I don’t like X’s latest project” aren’t a go-sign for harassment and reporting profiles.

We rightfully call out politicians who go after people who voice their criticisms about them, and that same energy should be applied to stans who go after people who say one bad thing about their favorite artist. This kind of behavior only breeds a culture of bullying that silences people. There are ways to call out someone without resorting to violent threats and trolling. So, if you’re the kind of person who takes even the smallest slight against your fave as grounds for cyberbullying, please log off social media and touch some grass.



With the rise of stan culture comes the type of stan who view their fave as almost God-like that can do no wrong. Yet, venerating someone that you think is flawless and beyond criticism is not the way to go. Everyone, even the names on your stan list, is imperfect in one way or another and will have flaws. 

Stans have the right and should call out their fave when they do something wrong. Your faves are human too, not gods sent from above, so it’s ok to let them be held accountable for their actions and know when they made a mistake. After all, people don’t learn and grow if they can’t turn their mistakes into teachable moments.  



Stans want what’s best for their faves. But this desire of thinking that they want to protect the artist can lead to moments that turn non-issues into major misunderstandings. We saw it most recently when accomplished volleyball player Sisi Rondina faced the ire of A’TIN, SB19’s fandom, all because she didn’t know who SB19 was at an event in South Korea. It reached the point where two of SB19’s members, Stell and Pablo, had to speak up to stop the hate. 

Getting mad at someone just for not knowing your fave doesn’t make you a good fan. Not only does it make you look arrogant, it also lets the bad apples ruin a good thing. There are over 8 billion people on this planet, so of course there will be people who don’t know the people you stan. It’s not that serious, so calm down and think first before turning a molehill into a mountain. Expecting the world to bend over to your fave is not it, and the only thing it’s giving is entitled with the lack of respect. Yes, there will always be a time to speak up and expect certain behavior, but don’t turn that into entitled behavior that just ends up making the fandom and the artist look bad.



Imagine stanning someone only because they have number one hits or top the box office? We could never. Ideally, you stan someone because you like them, their personality, their work, or a mix of all that and then some. But to be a fan just because they’re what everyone is talking about right now and dropping them when they’re not is frankly superficial. Sure, it is nice seeing your fave do so well in life. But that isn’t the whole story. 

Whether your fave has a successful career or experiencing a lull should not determine whether or not you’ll still stan. It should be whether they are still the artist you fell in love with in the first place or if they still align with your values. So what if your fave flops? Appreciating someone goes beyond career stats. 



Social media has done a lot of good when it comes to connecting artists with their fans. But it also can sadly bring about parasocial relationships with stans who think that they have a say in what their faves do in private. While social media has given fans even greater access to an artist’s life, there is a line that they shouldn’t cross. 

Who your fave dates, spends time with, where he goes, and what he does in private is exactly that, private. Their private life is not your business, so stans aren’t entitled to whatever information about the artists’ lives that they do not want to share willingly. This extends to even simple things like asking for a picture when you see them in public. You can ask respectfully, but do not interrupt their private time and space or make a fit because they said no. Let’s leave the stalking and obsessive behavior behind and respect their space and boundaries. 

Continue Reading: Some Things To Keep In Mind When We Raise Issues on Social Media