- As funny as a clown is among the many gold standards of what humour can be, that is not even intending of two very stark realities that have come to characterise this stock character of a laughed up identity. The ‘aftereffects’ of what being a clown in its literal sense entails reveal in an entirely different light across its pop culture prevalence- of ridicule and derogation on one hand and fear and intimidation on the other.
Both these aspects that now are intricate elements of the perceptiveness of clowns in general are dramatic contrasts to the identity’s original basis in being literally all fun and games. And yet even in their contrasting mannerism, there exists also another contradiction in each attending to two very different trails of realisation. And while the derogatory part of that being should be frightening itself in the kind of dualness it harbours as one strand of the sad clown paradox or even the clown personality, the other end of that construct in fear is apparently more physical but leading thereon to the complex slew of a psychological assertion.
Psychology of course is the basis of everything we feel but what makes this version of fear weirdly fascinating is the source from where it emerges. The condition manifests first as one of those many phobias that differently affect the human population. But even outside the definite dimension of coulrophobia, or the fear of clowns in which the intensity of the threat is even greatly perceived, it still strikes as somewhat unsettling- the kind of emotion one experiences through a grim glimpse of clowns.
So common has been this particular eeriness induced by the clown character that has in turn fed further into propagating its ‘popularity’ as such. The evil clown or killer clown trope of a more recent pop culture representation has been borne through this unexpected face of revealing for the jolly seeming character of a colorful costumisation. But it also is in this very appearance of an outward jolliness plastered on through a splash of the colors that has been responsible for this facet of identity to take over the narrative of traditionality.
That a general threat is perceived indeed with respect to clowns stands true, independent of the debilitating fear of them as encompassed in coulrophobia. Or one might just not like them you know, as is the case with so many things and entities of the world. What however makes this kind of negativeness a wholly different experience is the fact that despite the knowledge of it being just another human donning a specific style of makeup an as specifically tailored a set of clothes, one cannot help but harbour skepticism regarding the now inherently ingrained evilness in clownness. No wonder this particularly far- reaching element of terror has been obstructive enough of existences to even lend its name to a particular health condition marked by hyper emotional displays and grotesque actions, specifically expressed as the clownism stage of hystero- epilepsy.
The glaring reason behind this ‘fearspiration’ induced by clowns is the makeup indeed through which they assume character. The factors are quite holistic as well in emerging upon this singular spectrum. So while the obviousness of them not looking very much like humans in an unusual draw upon their face does much of the job, it also are the features themselves that scream exaggeration. Needless to say, such direct perception of a threat that seems to be boring into your very being even from across a screen is reason enough for anyone to be intimidated.
There is no discounting as well the uncanny nature of clown makeup itself. With highlights that occur as abnormally large or or distorted, the oddness in appearance does much to add to the queasiness that clowns are now known to induce. A seemingly lesser but equally significant factor dictated through this same expression of the clown makeup that presents their identity as something frightful expresses however in more psychological a mannerism.
The perfection to which faces are masked make it impossible to decipher the actualness of the person acting as the clown. With emotions hidden so skillfully and the facial identity rendered obscured as well, the threat occurs as even doubly real. There asserts then no possibility whatsoever in knowing who or what that entity shielded by the colors and costume is harbouring in their minds which is one of the most frightening prospects in any human setting. For clowns, the edginess of the situation presents as more intriguing in having also a host of associated factors to intensify the threat and which would be particularly hard hitting as well since this set of expectations directly negates the more established expectations in which clowns are realistically received.
It also are the shades of the makeup itself that bring upon added effect of vilification upon this traditionally jovial character. Darker, graver assertions of color of what holds that inexplicable sensation of threat might not be a prominent feature of the traditional makeup palette of comedy clowns. But the tweaks made to adapt their look to the changing narrative of how they are culturally represented today in films and illustrations are essentially a bit too exaggerated to bear. But it is the hallmark of a ‘good clown’ in being evil that even the base paint of a white coat introduces more than enough quotients of menacingness upon their character.
It is interesting indeed that clowns occur as more frightening when they put up expressions not suiting their profession. It is only understandable that when the laughs and smiles so prominently flashed across in their dramatic doings and dresses acquire instead a touch of the forlorn and identities of the frowns, the off-character essence strikes as unusual enough to be unsettling. The case then can also be one of the presentation itself- the derivation upon a set principle challenged through evolving channels of popular representation and reference making for a curious construct that has been impacting real perceptions and even stirring phobias.
This essentially means that a general uneasiness with the clown character can be a buildup upon societal factors that has for quite some time now pursued the dark streaks of their being. It wouldn’t be very wrong to say that some part of our ingrained aversion to clowns is due to a conditioning through which we have known and explored the world. Whether that is a direct account relayed through screens and sights or a passive experience we have ‘gained’ in being influenced by other fearers of these originally happy souls, the truth of the matter is that a general sense of threat is encountered through our interaction with these characters.
Then of course there would be more valid instances of real life, or that is to say in-person encounters with a clown- whether in their individualness or in their belonginess to the clown community that might have made us particularly startled by the evils lurking in their smiling shadows. What however asserts as a striking revelation amidst all such possibilities is that it is not so much the actual encounters as the fear attached in unpredictability that manifests clowns as terrifying beings. For someone practically acting out in silly amusement, that’s quite a lot of assuming upon their character to throw them off balance. And instead it is the other way round that works in establishing one of the most curious paradoxes of the human world seldom threatened by anything other than their own similar self.