Jun 2014
Josie Bungert

Face your fear Friday: Coulrophobia

And we’re back, with #FaceYourFearFriday.

This week, I will be picking through coulrophobia, or, the fear of clowns. I figure this is appropriate, seeing as we are getting into parade and festival season and I will see more of these now than ever.

When I’m at a parade, my family LOVES to yell at the clowns coming down the street to get them to come over and wave at me or take a picture with me. I cringe in my seat, shield my face, and will often have my eyes closed for minutes at a time, opening them only when I no longer hear their cartoon-like voices and honking horns.

I guess I am afraid of clowns for the same reason I am afraid of mascots: I find it scary and unnatural when you cannot tell who a person is. Unlike Halloween, when most people’s personhood is somewhat intact, when people dress up as clowns, they become something and someone else.

Also, there is nothing calming about a clown. They are made up of bright colors, overly obnoxious patterns, too-big-for-their-bodies clothing and shoes, and unnatural bodily extensions like squishy noses and snarly wigs. Even describing them here is making me uneasy. They don’t draw you in. If anything, they scare you off. Is there anything welcoming about a person shouting at you, with a fake smile literally plastered on their face? I don’t think so.

Not to mention the fact that clowns are never alone, never just one single person trying to get your attention. It’s a group, no, a swarm. So take that description above, and multiply it by 8-15, and you can see why there is nothing more petrifying.

I am trying to see them from the point of view that many do, though. From the point of view as to why they even exist in the first place: to cheer kids up, to be an adult ambassador for childhood and immaturity. I get that they are attempting to make you laugh, and that they wouldn’t include them in stuff if some didn’t find them entertaining. Additionally, they are adults willing to be childlike and playful for the sake of their art, and I have to give them props for that (even if I do find them a tad creepy).

Join me next week for my next #FaceYourFearFriday. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter, @jlbungert.