Though Eminem — who recently raised over $2 million dollars for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing — didn't submit the word to the dictionary, it wouldn't have happened without his influence. First, a little background: The year was 2000, and The Marshall Mathers LP was all the rage amongst the youths. Eminem had already made a name for himself as Slim Shady (despite already having a nickname in Eminem, it's confusing) but this particular album was a little darker, edgier, and more personal. That's where his single "Stan" comes in.
In the song, Eminem takes on the persona of "Stan," a "stalker fan" of Slim who waxes poetic about his love of the rapper in a series of letters. Eventually, Stan kills his own girlfriend after he becomes frustrated by the lack of attention from his idol.
Let me be clear: this song, and its subsequent music video which stars Devon Sawa as Stan, is disturbing as hell. Hearing the radio edit of "Stan" is mostly just a series of dropped words, accompanied by the sweet sounds of Dido's "Thank You."
In the years since the song was released, the combo of the word "stalker" and "fan" — the "stan" — has popped up in pop culture as a way to describe people who are a little obsessed with their celebrity loves. (Refinery29's Arianna Davis wrote an amazing piece on the phenomenon.) While there are definitely stans who take their fandoms too far, today's use of the word stan tends to reflect people who are really, really passionate about their beloved celebrity.
Sure, that can lead to toxic behavior — like, say, fandoms ganging up on one another, or making threats on people who dare say anything negative about the object of their adoration — but Eminem's term has definitely been watered down in modern-day usage. And now? The word is totally, 100% legit.