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FEAR OF CLOWNS

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What is Coulrophobia?

Since it is not an old phobia, but one that increased in recent decades, little is known about coulrophobia.

Scientists and doctors now agree that it is a result of not knowing who lies behind the excessive makeup, red nose and hair color.

The clown wears a colorful makeup to deconstruct the facial features to create a new identity.

And clowns can also break social norms, their mask makes them able to do things that others can’t do socially, like interacting with unknown people at ease.

Some researchers believe that coulrophobia cases increased after the 90’s, when Steven Spielberg classic horror film “IT” depicting a murderous clown was released and the portrayal of Joker as an evil character in Batman movies did not help the matter either.

Social implications

The phobia can cause a state of panic, difficulty in breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea and feelings of fear.

The coulrphobia may seem absurd for some, however, many people suffer so much, that it prevents them to eat a hamburger in a famous fast food chain. It is not a trivial matter either and coulrophobia shouldn’t be treated lightly.

Some hospitals use clowns as mural decorations which may make some coulrophobic children feel unease during their stay at the hospital.

Although the fear of clowns develops most of the time during childhood, it is prevalent among adult population too, even if a big number of adults would deny it.

It is said that the phobia develops in early years, when children are very sensible to an unfamiliar face in a familiar body.

There isn’t any official data about how many people suffer from coulrophobia, although it is believed that it is much more prevalent in western society (where exposure to clowns is more prevalent since a younger age). Some estimate that around 12% of adults in the US suffer from it.

 

 

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