Who is Stan?

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Perhaps you have heard of a group called BTS. They are a South Korean boy band that has been blowing up for the past year. So I began to investigate them on social media. My advice: don’t do it. It’ll ruin your life, because the amount of overdramatic teenagers is astounding. From what I understand most of the overly obsessed fans seem to exist on Twitter. That special place where all those fans spend their time is called “Stan Twitter.”

Who is Stan, you might ask. Well friends, it is not an actual person named Stan; instead, it is a term for someone who is a stalker fan. The word “stan” is literally a combination of the words “stalker” and “fan.” The term stan might be fairly new, but the concept of crazy fangirls has been around for ages.

Does Beatlemania ring a bell? Even if you weren’t alive then like me, it’s okay because Beatlemania is something that is still talked about today. People today are actually comparing the group BTS to The Beatles, and it’s not because they have similar music.

Back in 2014, the year that celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles performing at the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, Todd Leopold wrote a very interesting article about how it is not possible for something like Beatlemania to happen again today. This is because Kennedy had been assassinated only weeks before The Beatles arrived. Leopold quotes governor Mike Huckabee saying, “The Beatles brought something to America more than music. They brought hope.”

Hope. It’s something that I feel like many people are struggling to hold onto these days. The fact that The Beatles were able to give that to a country that was struggling to hold onto that hope after something so devastating truly shows the power of music.

After going back a bit I did some research into BTS’ work. In October 2017 BTS debuted their album Love Yourself: Her. It was to be the first in the three part series. Love Yourself: Tear came out in summer 2018, while Love Yourself: Answer followed soon after. This is extremely important because the entire message of this trilogy was to love oneself. With this they also partnered with UNICEF to create the campaign Love Myself where some proceeds of the album sales would go to end violence around the world. To top it all off BTS gave a speech at the UN this past September to encourage listeners to be themselves.

While all of this was happening Stan Twitter had a lot to say. There were many people saying how, until they found BTS they had been unable to love themselves. Through BTS’ music they had been able to be a little bit happier, and the world didn’t seem as dark. Very similar to what The Beatles did in their time.

What I’ve learned is that hope can come in many forms. One of those forms could be a South Korean boy band. It might be hard to see it through all the stans, but there are people who are just looking for hope. The world is a scary place, and I have a hard time watching the news without feeling nauseous. For me, music has always been an escape. So when people say that The Beatles gave them hope, I understand them, because BTS gave me, and so many other people hope. Not only that but I have learned to look for hope in other places.

I believe that hope can spread in many ways. I think that if you have found even a sliver of hope, that makes everything worthwhile, then the rest of the world doesn’t seem so bad.

Works Cited

BigHit Entertainment.  “Love Myself.” https://www.love-myself.org/post-eng/about-love-myself/.  Accessed 25 October 2018.

Leopold, Todd. “Beatles + Sullivan = Revolution: Why Beatlemania could never happen today.” CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2014/01/30/showbiz/celebrity-news-gossip/beatles-ed-sullivan-50-years-anniversary/index.html. Accessed 21 October 2018.

Wang, Amy B.  “What the world’s youths might learn from BTS, the K-pop stars who spoke at the UN.” The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2018/09/25/what-worlds-youths-might-learn-bts-k-pop-stars-who-spoke-un/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1708f5f15334.  Accessed 23 October 2018.

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