Breaking up with stan culture

Falling out of love sucks, and no, I don’t mean with a significant other or a friend. I’m talking about falling out of love with celebrities you once worshiped.

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

Throughout the past year or so, the facade surrounding some of my favorite singers and celebrities has fallen, which caused me to re-examine the way that I interact with the music and media that I consume.  

I’ve felt less and less willing to call myself a “Swiftie” or to make exclamations to my friends when I’d hear a Harry Styles song in public. That’s not to say I’m not a fan of either of their music, but I’ve realized that maybe I don’t have as much of a passion for public figures as I once did.

I had a lot of free time as a high schooler, primarily due to the pandemic, but also the nature of my lifestyle. That free time gave me the opportunity to dive deep into the music and entertainment that I consumed. I was constantly surrounding myself with media, since there was no bustling “real world” around me. 

Perhaps I’ve had this reckoning with fan culture because I’m just in a different phase of my life and have grown older. But it’s also possible that those who were in their teenage years during the pandemic are now in college or older, causing us to reevaluate fandom.

As we get older and busier, it’s harder to become a fanatic of things that we may have latched onto in the past. We mature, spend less time consuming media or our tastes simply change. 

In my case, the problems with “stan culture” and media overconsumption have led me to the point I’m at today. The media’s easy access to celebrity life and the oversaturation of how much we see our “faves” have led me to hold less excitement for when I do listen to their music or watch the shows that they’re in. 

Despite today’s fan culture encouraging us to either be fanatics or haters — two distinct extremes — I’ve come to realize the value of healthy celebrity relationships rather than worship. Ultimately, it’s more than okay to be a regular level fan of someone.

In no way is my detachment from celebrity interest a call for the frowning upon fangirls, as long as those fan activities do not progress to dangerous levels. It’s incredibly important to have a community, enjoyment and appreciation for art or media. Hell, I even co-host a radio show dedicated to talking about Taylor Swift’s music and her influence on pop culture.

But, I’ve recently realized that being a fan can just be casual. I haven’t lost my enjoyment of their work, but rather have begun to exercise caution with the manner in which I admire their public personas.

It’s easy to let celebrities become these shiny, perfect people — it’s been ingrained in celebrity culture since the beginning of time. In reality, despite their ability to write, perform or entertain, they may be no better than you or me as humans. 

When I came to this realization and diversified my taste in music and media, it became harder to latch on to the celebrity images that I once followed. 

Humanizing celebrities and enjoying music and media more than ever before have gone hand-in-hand in my life. Ultimately, falling out of love with the celebrities who I once idolized has been for the better.

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