I think of “phobia” in terms of a intense debilitating fear, one that drastically alters behavior. Phobia trumps simple wariness or aversion – it elevates uncertainty and caution to “clinical” levels. Phobia can’t be shrugged off as silly, it demands patience, support, understanding and therapy. Phobia comes from traumatic experience, repetitive negative enforcement and childhood impression.
Coulrophobia is a fear of clowns – a phobia Glenn Kohlberger, president of Clowns of America International takes seriously. Twisty the Clown, from FX series American Horror Story Freak Show , was the last straw. Last week Clowns of America spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about the “demonizing” clowns. They argue “evil clown” portrayals contribute to increased Coulrophobia in children and adults. Over the last few years clown membership has slipped dramatically – Kohlberger fears clowns hover on the brink of extinction.
Clowns are the laps of creepy “Uncles” children are forced to sit on, faceless strangers lurking behind masks – everything we warn our kids about, rolled into a grease paint atrocity. Children are powerless – adults create characters like “Twisty”. Adults brave enough to graphically illustrate what all of us are thinking. Clowns are freakin’ scary.Not some phobia, a universal fear of grease paint smiles and rubber noses.
Clowns of America, I beg you – it’s time to reinvent yourselves. If you value entertainment and loathe evil stereotypes – wipe off the face paint. There’s a phobia named after you. People are as afraid of you as snakes, spiders and spontaneous human combustion.
Link to the Business Insider – a brief history of clowns and why they’re so scary….