Fandom Behavior is Becoming Toxic

Tuesday, January 14

By Vivian Marlene Gomez

For many, a fandom can be a place of solace; people who relate and share the same ideas and values of a specific genre, person, or group. Typically, fandoms will create dedicated Instagrams and Twitters, posts, and edits of their favored idols. These are also known as “stans”, derived from Eminem’s song “Stan”, which speaks to the story of an overzealous fan. In recent years, stans of certain pop culture icons, like Nicki Minaj, are becoming more prominent now, however, not for the right reasons. 

Nicki Minaj’s beloved fanbase, or the Barbz, have imprinted a label on themselves for being messy and dramatic. This was especially emphasized after an incident in 2018 with Wanna Thompson, a self-identified “Hip Hop Nostalgist”, known for critically analyzing popular moments within the culture. After a tweet sent by Thompson reading “You know how dope it would be if Nicki Minaj put out mature content? No silly stuff..” reached the Barbz, they attacked her; sending death threats and insults that heightened the magnitude of the cyberbullying happening throughout the fanbase. Aside from that instance, there have been multiple of the like, specifically upon those who disagree or have a differing opinion of Minaj.

That is toxic. It’s okay to be a fan of something. It’s okay to have pages and posts dedicated to somebody. However, it is never okay to hurl death threats at somebody over an opinion. 

Furthermore, Barbz aren’t the only group that have been under fire for their toxic support. K-Pop and Beyonce also have similar fanbases that resemble the same, demeaning behavior. In 2019, Beyonce’s publicist had to literally speak out against the hate spewing against Nicole Curran after she was seen talking to Jay-Z during the NBA Finals. And I argue my point, that is toxic, even Bey thinks so too.

Social media is a great platform for people to extend their opinion, share their interests, and express themselves. There is an extent to where expressing yourself, and an opinion, gets too much. To keep things within limits, especially if you are a stan: Respect other’s opinions. This goes for just about anybody, but has emphasis within the fandom community. Toxic behavior in fanbases diminishes the fun in being a fan of something, so let people be the best fan they can be.

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