Why People Hate Theatre Kids: Analyzing the “Artsy Douche” Stereotype

I’ve said before that I’m currently majoring in writing,  but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, just a few weeks ago, I was a proud theatre arts education major. College was my first experience with a theatre department, since my high school barely had a marching band and thought that the arts were expendable. That being said, I was surrounded by rednecks who hated kids who liked art and I knew quite understood it. I’d never met someone who was artistic that was unlikable in any way, really, so why did everyone have this preconceived notion about art kids?

Well, I’m here to tell you, after my brand new experience with the theatre department, I finally understand exactly what everyone was talking about and, while I don’t like to stereotype people, I completely get why people are so disgusted by anyone who has the term ‘arts’ in their degree. Here’s why people hate theatre kids:

Many  are, indeed, arrogant assholes. I’m critical of things, I know, but I can appreciate something good and someone’s opinion to believe that something is good. I can appreciate childish whimsy and a love for things that weren’t nominated for an Academy Award. I can appreciate actors who are not classically trained and I can appreciate stories for children.

A lot of the theatre kids I’ve worked with (and befriended) are the same way and have a lot of respect for people’s differing tastes.

But then there are the others, the ones that give these poor kids a bad reputation to start with. For example, not too long ago, I was discussing ticket sales for our latest theatrical production, a comedy, which is selling out much quicker than our previous show, a very dramatic, obscure piece about lives being ruined and suicide.

Now, it’s obvious to see why one is doing better than the other. The fact of the matter is, people outside of a theatre department are more inclined to pay to see something that they know will be enjoyable, something that will make them laugh. Personally, I put a high value on comedy as I think it shows us more truth than anyone realizes.

Unless  you’re easily offended or a stereotypical tumblr SJW. If that’s the case, you should probably stay off the internet and avoid anything that’s even remotely funny, because you’re going to end up butthurt afterwards. Sorry not sorry.

Anyway, so, I was saying that our new show was selling more because it was a comedy. I was saying that, on average, people are likely to take time out of their day to see something genuinely funny and entertaining rather than something depressing.

My friend, a musical theatre major, then said (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Well, yeah, a lot of non-theatre people like comedy when it has no substance.”

Keep in mind, this is the same woman who adamantly defends Cats.

Well, for starters, this is inaccurate. In fact, I may just make a post about how important comedy is in the near future just to debunk this myth that’s constantly thrown around by people with a shitty sense of humor.

Secondly, how dare you? In this single sentence, this theatre kid has not only proved that she cannot dissect something that doesn’t slap her in the face with some kind of dark meaning (which, honestly, sounds a lot like butthurt-DC-fanboy attitude, but whatever), but she also implied that people who enjoy comedy are somehow beneath her, as if they don’t comprehend things on the same level as her and that they are somehow inferior.

This is just one example. I’m aware that the stereotype doesn’t define all theatre kids, but it was that very moment that I realized that, in some cases, the stereotype is very, very true. And these people are hard to get along with. And I completely understand why so many people who don’t know any better hate these kids. They’re the worst. God forbid you express an opinion in front of them or ask them to see LEGO Batman with you.

Anyway, theatre kids aren’t all arts kids, I know. Music kids don’t face the same awful stereotype. Instead, they get pegged as either stoners, music snobs, classical music enthusiasts, or idiots with no future. Visual art kids are usually considered the weird outcasts who just kinda hang out in the back of the room and only talk to one another.

None of these stereotypes are completely accurate and it’s never fair to judge someone by them, but, as much as I hate to admit it, all stereotypes come from a bit of truth. A lot of theatre kids are pretentious. Kids who draw sometimes are more socially awkward than others. And a lot of kids in the music department do enjoy the occasional joint or two.

So, all I’m really trying to say is that, no, you shouldn’t judge arts kids by any of these stereotypes until you get to know them. But, if you find that someone is going to start telling you that a hilarious satire on censorship  is somehow substance-less just because they aren’t fans of comedy and think that no one else should be either, run the other way.



– Mary