“If the mind is completely absorbed with something, we are likely to forget important things.”
Here is a quick realization: we 20-somethings are the last generation to remember what it was to live in a day before Internet. A day without caller ID and a day without oversaturated exposure to celebrity.
There was no paparazzi. We knew of the celebrities only through what we would read of them or schedule to watch of them on television. We knew only of Tupac’s words off the cassette or from the words that Dream Hampton typed on her keyboard. We had imaginations, and we fell in love with the idea of what a celebrity was. We could love their music and imagine every lyric they spat to be true. We could romanticize the image they sold and stain their Word Up! Posters with oil stains from cherry gloss kisses.
We knew they were stars and we knew the role they played in society. We knew we were in love with an idea.
Enter reality TV.
Enter social networks.
Enter the idea that these celebrities are people we know personally.
Stan: Based on the central character in the Eminem song of the same name, a "stan" is an overzealous maniacal fan for any celebrity or athlete.
All of the above. All of the above combined, intertwined with one another and independently of one another, coupled with outside influences and resulting in stans. Our relationships with all of the above are the reasons for the obsession.
Admittedly, as a member of the media, I use my words to package celebrities neatly and serve them up to the millions of people that cross our site per day. Where there is a demand, there must be a supply, but there is a fine line that some of us waddle on, the line that reminds us that like us, like me writing this, like you reading this, like us, celebrities are humans too.
As an intern in the editorial world I learned a silent lesson while listening to hours on end of voice recordings and producing transcriptions. I learned that stars, like us, are insecure. They second guess. They question their longevity, their talent, and they understand what legions of fans can sometimes clutter: the fact that they too are human and prone to mistakes and therefore open to criticism.
It is an industry that takes a thick skin, both being a celebrity and reporting on celebrities. It can result in hateful emails, a Twitter feed skewed with slander and name calling, and the graveyard comment section attempting to attack your personal character and wishing all the perils of the world upon you…all for someone they know in a pseudo world.
Being raised in a digital age is as much a blessing as it is a spell of sorts. Face-to-face social interaction with flesh is rare, the internet seemingly controls what is real and what Is fake, words typed out seem to hurt a little less and what exactly a relationship with a celebrity is can get muddled in the alter-world of the interwebs.
Be not confused, being a celebrity is as much their job as your 9-5 is yours.
And it becomes realer when the obsessions once reserved for the Internet find their way into real life.
“In 2012, a stan for Jessie J broke their leg to emulate her own leg injury. The fan tracked down Jessie J's personal address and sent her a photograph of the self-inflicted injury. The singer responded to the event with horror and decided to increase her security.”
“Justin Bieber was stalked and harassed by the photographer who was killed while taking pictures of the singer's car on New Year's Day.”
“A man who referred to himself as Beyonce's lover was arrested in Connecticut yesterday. He was taken after driving recklessly and telling police he was on his way to a date with Beyonce.”
“Usher believes his life is in jeopardy ... claiming he's being stalked by a dangerous delusional woman who is convinced she's MARRIED to the pop star.”
Where can the line be drawn?
Stanning isn’t a two way street. You’re coupled under a generic hash tag and grouped as a mass of people who are willing to do whatever it takes to “ride” for your celebrity of choice.
There is a place that we have to meet between being a fan and a stan. There has to be a disconnect between living a real life with realizations, repercussions for activities outside of moral coding and goals outside of those that include social lawyer work attempting to raise a human to omnipotent heights.
We are all of the same flesh, the same bone, and take in the same air. Let’s love the art, let's love the music, the art, the clothing, the persona. But let’s be real, for reality’s sake.
“If the mind is completely absorbed with something, we are likely to forget important things..." like our own realities.
Rachel is the Associate Editor and Senior Style Writer for GlobalGrind.com, proud graduate of a SUNY school, and as sarcastic as they come. Follow her on Twitter for random daily ramblings @MiissHislop