Stan Game Proper: The Art of Stan Wars
Do you remember back in 2002, when music was just music? Back when first-week album sales didn’t matter to fans, and we barely paid attention to where our favorites were on the Billboard charts? Back when no one counted awards or nominations? Back when you could love and hate whatever artist you wanted and no one challenged you? I’m not sure exactly when the war began, but it certainly did.
I’m a stan war veteran. I’ve gone to battle many times and earned my Purple Heart, but I no longer engage in that form of combat. I’m still a stan, I just don’t fight anymore; I guess you can say I’m retired.
When I first started stanning, back around 2007 or 2008, I enjoyed it. It was fun. My “fave” was (and still is) the best thing walking, and I had plenty of ammo to back me up. Being a part of a stan army was something cool to me. Stans were knowledgeable, stans were influential, stans were seen as ride or die fans. That was then, but now there’s a whole new set of rules. In fact, there aren’t any rules.
I stopped actively stanning because it wasn’t fun anymore. I’m not sure if it’s just because I grew up or the people who were on the other side took it to a level I wasn’t ready for, but either way it no longer felt right. I now watch from the side lines shaking my head in disbelief at the emotional and asinine statements used to make a point. Back in the day, it was all about the numbers your fave put up and the talent your fave could claim. You’d defend your fave as much as you could with simple statistics. But somewhere that was lost, and other weapons were introduced.
Stans started attacking anybody and everybody. Suddenly the rules of only attacking other soldiers went out the window. Today, an innocent by-stander who is simply voicing an opinion is fair game. These vicious attacks go far beyond my fave is better yours. Stans now attack people’s entire existence. Nothing is off limits. Your looks, career, children, mother, and father are all up for ridicule. Stans will do whatever it takes to make the opposition feel like shit. This is a problem.
Publicly, Beyoncé stans get the worse rep – Beyoncé herself even asked her fans to “tone it down” (around the 2:16 mark). Yet, they are not the only ones engaging in this filthy behavior. Don’t pretend like you haven’t seen tweets wishing death to Blue Ivy. Or how about all the comments directed to Brandy about driving? Or the Rihanna-abuse jokes? These are all serious things that shouldn’t be used to justify artistry. When these battles go down, no group is more vicious than the other.
At the end of the day, what is really the purpose of these wars? Does anyone ever leave a battle with a different outlook or opinion? Yes, one fave has more Grammys than the other, but will that ever change how a fan feels about that artist’s music? Most likely not. Like I said, a few years ago there was no specific mission, but rather the joy of a good debate. What happens today isn’t a debate; it’s simply an organized act of bullying. Everyone is guilty, not just the Beyhive; the Monsters, the Barbs, the Rihanna Navy, the Breezy, etc., we all are involved. Once you take it to a level that has nothing to do with the artist’s work, it’s no longer stanning, it’s bullying.