Toxic “STAN” Culture and Eurovision

According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, the term “stan” is defined as, “an extremely or excessively enthusiastic or devoted fan,” and according to The Odyssey Online, “stan culture” is defined as something “notorious for extreme actions generally committed by a minority within the fanbase, such as threatening others, treating certain celebrities as if they’re demigods, sports riots, and basically just doing anything for attention.”

Back in 2016, I defined Stan on my YouTube channel as I geared up to highlight the songs with the most “HATE”

The term STAN wasn’t commonly thrown around in Eurovision circles but it was oozing from posts throughout the online community. 

The Eurovision Song Contest is a competition. It is all in good fun, but it is a competition and with that said folks will HAVE to provide critiques of all aspects of an entry. From the styling, staging, song composition… the list goes on. 

As a content creator, every year I brace myself for the inevitable onslaught of ridiculous comments accusing me of singling out certain countries, carrying illogical biases, and knowing “nothing”. Next to these very stan-like comments are comments from folks who understand what I’m doing, but the stans don’t care about balance and fairness. Stans only care about the fact that you don’t seem to blindly LOVE what they LOVE. 

BREAKING NEWS: There are Eurovision entries I love that I am critical of. 

Arguably, I tend to be more critical of the entries that I love. Long-time subscribers of my channel know this to be true. I become hypercritical of my favorite entries because ultimately I know they’ll have to be PERFECT to earn the coveted title of “Eurovision Winner”. I want the styling to be perfect. I want the vocal to be flawless. I want the song arrangement and track to capture folks early and vary enough to keep casual viewers locked in sonically. The staging has to give folks a moment (or two, or three, or four) so that juries are visually WOW’d and people at home don’t forget when that singer from X country did X thing.

So why am I writing about toxic stan culture?  

I am writing about toxic stan culture because as we’ve seen in mainstream music culture how a fandom’s stan-like behavior has the ability to become greater than the artist. From Nikki Minaj’s Barbz to Beyoncé’s Beyhive, these digital armies have an attack first, no questions asked mentality. This take no prisoners attitude has been fueled by the larger cancel culture now ubiquitous in our society. 

To think that this element of our culture wouldn’t make an appearance around the Eurovision Song Contest would be silly. 

So how does it frequently appear? Meet the “STAN”

  1. The Music Elitist: Most often seen denigrating your love of a schlager and or modern pop/bop track— this stan will often trash your love and/or favor of a song and then prop up another entry they deem superior.  Example: I don’t see how anyone could think Malta is winning when France literally exists. France is serving REAL music, not some cheesy women’s empowerment song.
  2. The Nationalistic Fighter: Most often seen saying things like, “You hate XYZ Country… You always say XYZ country won’t do well”. These stans feel like someone failing to praise their entry is taking a personal shot at their country. In their minds, Eurovision isn’t about the song or the performer it is about their country wholistically.
  3. The Dismissal: Most often seen telling folks “who cares what you think?” In their minds, everything you say is negated once you offer a critique. If you love their favorite they care what you think. If you have something critical to share about their favorite, they don’t care. 
  4. The Professor: Most often seen telling folks, “what do you know?” The professor is an expert in all things so much o they went completely out of their way to tell you how dumb you must be to not LOVE the song that they love. 

The beauty of the Eurovision Song Contest is the fact that we have so many different artists, genres, and cultures represented on one stage. That fact alone should be a key clue for folks to recognize that we’re all going to like and love different entries. Also, there is a job jurors, journalists, commentators, AND televoters have to do— JUDGE. Everyone is judging these entries, in order to judge you’re going to HAVE to point out highs and lows. It isn’t always objective, but it’s the name of the game in this Song Contest. 

Published by Alesia Michelle

This talkative girl decided to use her gift of the gab for good. Alesia is a graduate of Hampton University, with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism. Alesia enjoys singing and actually appeared on Showtime at the Apollo (twice)- and did not get booed. When she isn’t working, Alesia loves politics, reality TV and is your favorite American fan of the Eurovision Song Contest.

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