4 October, 2021
What’s the difference between teenage girls taking to Twitter to rave about their favorite boy band and adult men screaming at their television set watching their favorite football team’s game? There is absolutely no difference, each shows an individual passionately supporting their interests. But in society teenage girls are thought of as “boy obsessed” and “crazy” fans while men at sports games are simply just supporting their favorite teams. Fandoms are inherently sexist.
In middle school, I turned my personal Twitter into my first ever “stan” account (before the term even existed) when I discovered One Direction. Soon after I was known as a “crazy” One Direction fan at school. A few years later my friend group was known as “the 5SOS crew”. Neither of which was supposed to be a compliment. But of course, no one blinks an eye when boys at school have their favorite basketball team as their laptop background.
I’m finally coming to terms with and truly realizing that there were and still are issues in the way fans are perceived based on their gender and interests after listening to the “It’s Time to Stop Shitting On Stans” episode of The Shit Show podcast. As young women, we are conditioned to believe that our interests in bands and music aren’t as important as being a super fan of a sports team. That it is somehow a waste of time, and something to make fun of. When I had my Twitter stan accounts in middle and high school I didn’t want anyone from my school to find my account other than close friends. It was basically like my own secret life. I’m realizing that I felt this way because I was conditioned to. I didn’t want to get made fun of and I was secretly embarrassed about being a fangirl because of the stigmas around it.
In reality, stan accounts and being part of a fandom should be something to be proud of. Fandoms are incredibly powerful communities. I’ve met so many amazing people online from Twitter and from waiting in lines at shows. Fandoms are places where you can always find a friend and a support system of like minded people. I’ve also learned so many valuable skills throughout my time as a fan including photo editing, writing, how to organize events, and how to talk to an audience. Being a fan is what inspired me to pursue a career in the music industry and I’ve met so many others with similar stories.
With organizations and companies like Fan To Band leading the way, I believe that we are and can continue to change the way stans are perceived. I’m so grateful to be a part of the “stan revolution” in my role at Fan to band. I’m incredibly thankful that I created my One Direction Twitter account in 2012. If I didn’t I truly don’t believe I would be where I am today!
Image credit: @shityoushouldcareabout