Photo by Ian Williams on Unsplash

Don’t Be Such A Snob

Rachel Wayne
5 min readSep 13, 2019

We’ve all met them. We’ve all defended our art, our tastes, our hard work to them. We’ve all rolled our eyes at them.


I’ve jokingly referred to myself as a beer snob and a film snob, to name a couple, because I have strong preferences and tend to be overly critical of beers and movies I dislike.

However, I’ve also realized that in those two realms, my snobbiness is at a 1 or a 2 on a scale of 10. For example, I (gasp!) love IPAs. If the beer subreddit is any indication, my tastes are woefully pedestrian because of this. And I love cheesy B movies, which excludes me from being a true film snob, according to some people who don’t appreciate my love of Citizen Kane as long as I have a copy of I Know What You Did Last Summer in my collection.

I experienced snobbish gatekeeping in the anthropology community, as well. When I received a grant to fund my research on bullying, I was honored at our department awards ceremony along with the other grantees. The department chair met me on stage to hand me my plaque (all sorts of pomp, yes) and asked me where I’d be conducting my research. “Right here in Florida,” I said proudly.

“Oh! Give me that back,” she exclaimed, playfully yanking the plaque back from me. I was completely mortified as the crowd tittered. Even though she was joking, the message was clear: My research, because it was taking place in America, wasn’t as worthy of the grant as research conducted by my colleagues in exotic locales.

I thought we anthropologists had abandoned our colonialist vibe, but I guess not.

The bias against American anthropology and new forms of anthropology continued as I struggled to complete my project on media’s effects on bullying. “Are you sure this isn’t more like psychology?” asked my professor, ignoring my careful framing of my research in anthropological theory. I decided that academia was not for me, but I continued to take an anthropological approach to my writing, often interviewing people and picking apart cultural issues.

And yet the gatekeeping continued.

Ironically, when I shared my recent auto-ethnography about gatekeeping in geek culture to the digital anthro subreddit, thinking they would be interested as researchers in an emerging…

Rachel Wayne

Artist/anthropologist/activist writing about art, media, culture, health, science, enterprise, and where they all meet. Join my list: