Girls can’t be clowns!

Clown sexism

Can a girl be a clown?

One of my ‘resting’ jobs when I wasn’t acting used to be in kids’ entertainment, and I remember often being approached by the little girls when I was dressed as a clown. “Are you a girl?”, they would ask. “Yes,” I’d say. They would furrow their brows: “Girls can’t be clowns!” On a couple of occasions, they even looked around for my clown-husband to make sense of the fact that I was female, red-nosed and on the loose.

Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily recommend clowning as a profession for young girls to aspire to, the fact that they were ruling themselves out of even the most surreal of roles because their default idea of it was male, seems very sad and unnecessary to me. Wouldn’t it be great if girls didn’t have to wait until their twenties, thirties, (forties, fifties, etc…) to realise that all options are open to them??

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2 Responses to Girls can’t be clowns!

  1. El Santo says:

    Good points. I should also mention that I am a clown, and in my experience half the clowns I’ve encountered are women. I think it might have to do with women being less hesitant to wear a costume featuring frilly lace and bright colors.

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    • There wasn’t any frilly lace on my costume and I’m not sure it would have seemed inviting to me if there was… but yeah, I guess throughout the performing arts there seem to be more women. Maybe something to do with expressiveness and/or the expectation of women to adorn and entertain, and work closely with kids in the case of most clowns.

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