I’m sure most people reading this are already familiar with the term “token stan”, but just in case you aren’t, I’ll briefly explain. A token stan is someone who stans a group so they can use them to hate on other groups. For example, a person that token stans a group with a girl crush concept and hates on groups with “cute” concepts, or vice versa. (I’ve witnessed both scenarios happen in reality, most notably b/w stans of Blackpink and Twice). A token stan can also be someone who stans a popular group and uses them to hate on less successful “flop” groups. These kind of token stans are sometimes referred to as “success stans”.
As someone who has been a kpop fan since 2017 and is a fan of several 3rd and 4th gen groups, I feel as if token stans are becoming even more common in 4th gen kpop, especially among girl groups. What I mean is that people will hate or make fun of group, but then switch up if that group ends up becoming more successful than they expected.
For example, I remember the severe hate and mockery that Aespa got when they first debuted, because “Black Mamba” apparently didn’t chart well + all of the plagiarism issues regarding the background of their concept photos and music show stage sets. Even “Next Level” got a lot of criticism at first. But when “Next Level” starting rising on the charts and became more of a hit, a bunch of token stans joined the fandom and starting mocking 4th gen groups that were less successful. They kept using chart stats to mock other groups, but then got silent when “Girls” didn’t perform as well.
The same thing happened with IVE after they debuted. Since both “Eleven” and “Love Dive” became hits and ended up out charting Aespa’s recent releases, the success stans found their new group to token stan and now use IVE’s achievements to make fun of Aespa.
The most recent example of token stans that I can think of is the fans of New Jeans. Their fans token stan the group to hate on groups so-called “noise music”, mainly Aespa. As soon as “Attention” dropped, all you could hear was people making shady comments like “WOW, finally a group with simple and easy-to-listen-to-music, these other noisy 4th gen groups can’t relate.” These kind of comments just make me laugh because even when a 4th gen group releases a non “noisy” song, it will just be ignored (example: Ateez has released title tracks like “Wave” and “Turbulence” and yet they still get labeled as being one of the main “noise” groups of 4th gen.)
Anyways, the main reasons why I don’t like token/success stans is because
1.) They always jump from group to group, depending on who is more successful at the moment. They do nothing to support the group, and just use them to engage in petty fanwars online. As soon as their token group is overtaken by another group, they’ll ditch the fandom and become an anti of the group they once stanned. But if the group ends up becoming more successful again, they’ll come crawling back and act as if they supported them all along.
2.) Even after these token stans leave the fandom, they end up ruining the image of the fandom and people generalize their behavior as being representative of all the fans.
3.) They don’t view the groups they stan as people. They just use them as trophies to wield and use them to belittle other groups, which can invite unfair and unwarranted hate towards the group that these token fans stan.
4.) If a group has done something wrong or controversy surrounds the group, these success stans get so defensive and act as if people are criticizing the group because they’re “jealous” of the group’s success. (ex: the recent situation with New Jeans. Like…how is me expressing concern towards the group being managed by a pedo = me being threatened?? I’m not an idol and I don’t have any real attachment to a kpop group, so why would I care if one kpop group is more successful than another? Be serious. )
I made this post because I saw some people make comments about token stans, and I wanted to share my own thoughts on the matter. I also want to know how others feel and if you agree/disagree with anything I said.