One of the phenomena of the modern-day internet is stan culture; the love of a celebrity bordering on obsession. The parasocial relationships that fuel fan interactions can often be toxic and some fandoms are particularly known for their wildly obsessive behaviour when it comes to their favourite celebrities.
Here’s our list of the top 7 fandoms you don’t want to cross in the order of least vicious to will-absolutely-send-you-death-threats-and-doxx-you-online.
Sincerely, her 409 million Instagram followers aside, until the Selena/Hailey conundrum, I (and probably many others) had no idea Selena Gomez had such a devoted fanbase. Sure, she played the beloved character Alex Russo on Wizards of Waverly Place and her sly, witty, outgoing and humorous character shaped many of our childhood and teenage personalities; and sure, her makeup line Rare Beauty is well done and the liquid blush is supposedly divine and yes, her music is great and her openness with her journey with Lupus endeared us all to her even more — actually, maybe I get it.
6. BTS’ Army
BTS fans call themselves the ARMY, which stands for “Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth” and armies do not play about their boys. Their support for the group is unwavering and they have a serious online presence with fans from all around the world. BTS stans organise among themselves to support the group as well as fellow fans and god help you if you disrespect the Bangtan Boys; a horde of fans are willing and ready to drag you for filth. And really, aside from the almost manic obsession, they’re mostly unproblematic so you’d probably deserve it.
5. Big Brother Naija Stans
BBN is arguably the most popular reality show in Nigeria and every year, even if participants leave the show with no money or brand endorsements, many end up with a loyal fanbase. In-fighting among fanbases is common and so is doxxing, threats of violence and online harassment of anyone who speaks against a fave. It’s best to steer clear of these conversations altogether. I mean, as an adult, why are you crying about B-list (at best) celebrities online? Get serious.
4. Wizkid FC
Wizkid fans do not take days off. Monday to Sunday, they are ready to camp in the comments of whoever to remind them that Wizkid, and not any of his counterparts, is the GOAT. They will leave 50 successive comments on a post, in case you didn’t see it the first time. To be fair, sometimes, the Wizkid slander is too much, but fans should let the music speak for itself. Remember, more love, less ego.
Taylor Swift fans are committed to her in their millions and will often doxx, threaten and harass anyone who isn’t, into oblivion. Bad reviews on her songs and albums are a punishable offence and this fanbase takes said punishment very seriously. They hold grudges against her exes years into the future and are relentless in their support. They sometimes use their powers for good, like when they rallied around her after she publicly called out Scooter Braun for purchasing her masters; but often for evil.
Beyoncé fans are very protective of her, and understandably so. She is, undeniably an icon, a star, the moment, and people often undermine her greatness. However, sometimes, this protectiveness is wildly overzealous. Beyoncé fans need to realise that not everyone adores her. Whether this is a questionable stance, (it is), is an entirely different matter, people should be able to air their dissenting opinions without threats and harassment. Some stans are also very entitled to Beyoncé’s time, work and attention, and that’s why she doesn’t speak to us anymore.
Nicki Minaj’s battalion of fans online are always on standby to inherit whatever beef the rapper is currently harbouring, and there’s almost always beef. From Travis Scott to Cardi B to Megan Thee Stallion to Spotify and Pitchfork, Nicki has an endless stream of opps and her fans readily join her to fight her battles. With her recent pattern of questionable choices, her fans remain unwavering in their support, as Nicki herself doubles down and encourages their behaviour and fans the flames of their excesses. Doxxing, threats and harassment are the order of the day.
Stan culture is undoubtedly a problem and celebrity worship will always earn you a side eye, at least from me. Loving and admiring a celebrity is not in itself a problem, but harming people because they don’t share your views definitely is.