This is part of a series of articles to combat coulrophobia (the fear of clowns), educate the uninformed public about the consequences of masquerading as “scary clowns”, and defend #REALCLOWN. CLICK HERE to read the other articles to help combat the “creepy clown” stereotype.
Why Clowns Matter
We are living in ever-changing volatile times. Think back to your childhood.
Certain things were considered sacred, remember? There were some things you simply did not mock. Some things were treasured and held in esteem: Moms and Dads, clergy, police officers, Santa Claus…and clowns.
Starting in the 1960’s with the rebellion against authority things have escalated out of control.
Now we hear things like “Eww! Clowns are creepy!”
It is time to call it quits?
So, are clowns important anymore?
Should our floppy shoes and red noses go the way of vaudeville, rotary phones, and the dinosaurs?
But what happens when our children lose their sense of discovery?
Does everything need to be either syrupy sweet or nightmarishly gruesome? Is there no middle ground?
Erasing the Fool
Wait a minute. We are messing around with an important part of our culture: FOOLS.
Where would the world be without fools?
Every society and culture has used the fool as a release valve for the day to day pressures of society. Back in the day only the court jester could dare to speak honestly about what was happening in court.
Clowns hold up a mirror to human nature. They point out our flaws by displaying them in their own antics. Clowns allow themselves to be the butt of jokes, so we can laugh at them while laughing at ourselves.
If clowns are removed from society, who will we have to laugh at, to trust to tell us the truth about ourselves?
We are so quick to shelter our kids from anything that makes them uncomfortable. Maybe being afraid of a clown at first is a good thing, just like being afraid of any stranger. But shouldn’t children learn to discern the good from the bad?
Defined by our trade
Should our only means of entertaining children tie us to balloons and face paint?
Don’t get me wrong I believe in capitalism! “Show me the money” as they say.
I know it is important to pay for supplies. I realize that most of you supplement your income and in some cases provide for loved ones and yourselves with your clowning.
But your audience shouldn’t association you with only those things you charge for. The balloons and paint shouldn’t become the definition of a clown.
So we need to ask the question: Why do clowns matter?
The world needs us
Clowns matter because we show the world it is okay to be different. It is okay to get laughed at.
We are proof that the world doesn’t end if we can laugh at ourselves and share a smile.
The false idea that we need to be perfect in a perfect world is a lot of pressure for kids (and adults). The fool allows us to laugh together.
Clowns are important because we remind adults of their youth. Clowns help people forget about their troubles.
It takes courage. It takes courage to go on being a clown when society would like to keep us in scary movies and haunted houses.
Which leads me to me next point: creepy clowns.
What do you say?
How do you respond when someone says “clowns are scary”?
Here are a few replies you can try:
- I’m afraid of them too!
- Those scary clowns aren’t real clowns. Real clowns are fun and nice!
- Clowns are moms and dads and aunts and uncles; sometimes even kids are clowns!
- Did you know my mom is a clown too?
Alright, but what about teens and adults? This is so much more difficult because adults are never wrong and most times they just don’t want to listen. This is a tough one to deal with and it happens more and more these days. If little kids are present, try to stay in character.
Here are ways to respond to remind them kids are nearby:
- Wow, that was really mean. I don’t hate anyone.
- You hate someone? That is kind of like being a bully.
- Sometimes people just blurt out stupid things, don’t they? (You can direct that one to adults and the kids if you want!)
If there are no children present, most times it is best to simply walk away.
However, if someone is open to chatting about it, go for it. Don’t stay in character if you are going to have a genuine conversation.
You can tell them your real name, that you have kids and a family, etc. Make it personal. Tell them briefly how you got into clowning and how rewarding it is. Remind them that you are real person underneath the make-up. Invite them to a clown club meeting. (Most folks won’t come.)
You are a walking billboard
Whatever the result of those encounters, remember this: YOU are our best spokesperson at that moment. You are trying to improve things for the next clown that comes along!
Keep it positive and up-beat no matter what happens, because other people are watching and they are forming opinions as well.
Like it or not, clowns are under scrutiny every time we go into the public. In today’s society, clowns are no longer the treasured goof-balls we once were. It seems like the media has declared it “open season” on clowns, and there is a target on our backs.
The heart of a clown
Clowns matter because laughter is an escape from the painful reality of life. It makes time and life standstill.
Did you know that you can’t think about fear if you are laughing, or if you are making someone else laugh? It is powerful medicine to a weary world. The clown, the fool, is the doctor.
Our secret is this: when we share our gift with each other and the world, we heal ourselves.
If you still have the heart of the clown, do not be deterred by a few rude people who simply don’t understand us.
Don’t get disgusted.
Don’t give up.
Don’t lose hope.
Keep clowning, knowing that you really do matter. You make a difference.
The world needs us now more than ever.
If you need a boost of confidence, I encourage you to go back through this article and click on the links. Each one will bring you another of my blog entries to inspire you in your clown journey!
Here are more articles I wrote about the topic of “Creepy clowns”. Please share these with your fellow clowns, and with those who think dressing up as a clown to scare people is funny:
- Stopping Scary Clowns – Part 1
- Stopping Scary Clowns – Part 2
- It is Coulrophobia? Or is it bullying?
- Responding to “You might scare kids”
- Clowns are gifts, not creeps
- Great come-backs for “I hate clowns”
- Why creepy clowns are wrong, wrong, wrong
- She faced her fear of clowns!
Mooseburger Clown Arts Education has been running one of the world’s most well-rounded clown schools since 1996. Performers from all over the globe travel to Minnesota each summer for a fun and intensive clown training program. Each aspect of our clown camp is designed to meet your needs and boost your confidence as an entertainer.
Whether you want to join the circus, visit nursing homes, run your own birthday party business, paint faces, or twist balloons, there is something just for you at Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp.
Or call me toll-free to discuss your education and see if Mooseburger is the right fit for you: 800-973-6277
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