Stanning a male celebrity as a woman is not for the faint of heart. One day you’re listening to your favourite song, tweeting about your celebrity crush or watching a movie and gushing over how amazing and talented some actor is, and boom, the next day, he’s in the news for domestic violence or abuse; or for saying women belong in the kitchen, that rape is not that serious, or he’s telling women he wants to eat their flesh in Instagram DMs.
With all celebrities, stanning is a slippery slope. Celebrities are people (shocking, I know), and for this reason, they, like us, are fallible. There’s also the added factor of wealth and fame that’ll insulate almost anyone from accountability — and with men who are sheltered by patriarchy, there is an additional potential for weirdness and predatory behaviour. Many men are armed with the knowledge that they can do the most deplorable things, and society will still have their back.
As a “conscious” woman, sometimes, it’s hard to consume entertainment knowing that the men behind it don’t rate you very much. Beyond questionable song lyrics, questionable character and history make it hard to mindlessly enjoy some things. So, here’s our three-step-guide to stanning male celebrities as women:
1. Carry them on your shoulders, not your head —so that at any time, you can brush them off:
It’s more than okay to enjoy things. If women were to cut out all music with demeaning lyrics by men, then entire genres might be wiped out from their music options. For women who do not want to take this drastic step, sit down and enjoy the entertainment, but try not to ascribe any morality, virtue or value outside their work to the men behind it. In fact, if possible, detach yourself from their person as you enjoy the work so that if they ever do something you find to be too horrible, you won’t have formed an emotional attachment that’ll cause you to continue to support them even when what they’ve done goes against your views and values.
Also, when you know these men have done the things they’ve done, doesn’t it make you see their work differently? “Bitch stop breathing” becomes more than a catchy hook to swing your head to; it becomes a threat.
It’s hard to let go of the media we’ve become attached to and celebrities we’ve come to love, but sometimes, we cannot, in good conscience, continue to support men who have acted violently against women. In those times, it’ll be easier to let go if you’ve been enjoying media with a level of offhandedness.
2. Abandon the internet, and become a hermit:
A simple solution to this very special problem is simply to go off social media and the internet as a whole. See no evil, hear no evil. If you’re not on the internet, you will not be made aware that your favourite celebrity does not bathe or is a bigot. The internet has made it so that we have access to people’s deepest darkest thoughts because they choose to share them with us. The internet fosters parasocial relationships with celebrities, and now more than ever, we have access to an abundance of information about people we would otherwise have no access to.
Solution? Block out any and all information. Watch your movies and listen to your music from the comfort of your cave in the woods. That’s a surefire way to stan a male celebrity without fear of heartbreak and disappointment.
3. Assume they’re suspicious until proven otherwise:
Side eye everything, trust nobody. Expect them to disappoint you so that if/when they do, you can say, “Ah, not surprised at all”. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready, so engage with their work with the aloofness of someone who knows that with male celebrities, there’s usually something.
Remember that good music is abundant, and movie stars are not in short supply. You can do without any celebrity; I mean, you don’t actually know them, even if the internet can make it seem like you do. So, if you ever feel a conflict of interest when supporting a problematic celebrity, maybe just don’t.