By David Futrelle
In my travels through the manosphere, I regularly discover new ways in which men are oppressed by the evil gynocracy. They are mostly extremely dumb, but the one I found today is somehow even dumber than that.
Poking around in the Men’s Rants subreddit — a smaller and somewhat angrier offshoot of the Men’s Rights subreddit — I ran across a dude who’s mad that there aren’t enough scary female clowns in pop culture to balance out all the male ones. This lack of “scary female clowns in media,” toddfan420 sniffs, is “a massive layer of anti-male culture affecting us subconciously” by, presumably, making us think that all men are scary clowns, or something.
“It’s so trendy to be ‘scared of clowns,'” he continues,
But if there are no female scary clowns in media, than we cant rule out that this may be creating anti-male fear.
If a woman dressed as a clown and sat at a playground, people would bring their kids up to her. But imagine a huge dude clown just sitting at a playground…
I don’t doubt you, but that might have less to do with the scariness of Pennywise the Clown than with the fact that 95 percent of child abductions by strangers are carried out by men?
Tell me a huge part of scary clowns is not their maleness.
Well, some of it clearly is — and as I mentioned before it’s likely this is the result of the fact that men are, statistically speaking, more dangerous, more violent, more scary than women, and far, far more likely to commit violent crimes. I mean, it’s a lot more complicated than that, and I’m sure someone could write a dissertation or two on toxic masculinity and the rise of the scary male clown, but I don’t think the discrimination going on here is against men.
Nah, it’s against women, who generally don’t get the plum roles as villians in horror movies or in any other genre. Most heroes in movies are male; most villains are male. Still, there are some tremendous female villains in film history, and at least one of them is a clown. I believe her name is Harley Quinn.
If you google ‘scary woman clown,’ It’s all just Harley Quinn stuff. Women get to be sexy, while men have to be objects of fear.
Women “get” to be sexy? Female characters are expected to be sexy, even when they’re also supposed to be scary. And it isn’t feminists insisting that Harley Quinn has to be a sex object. Indeed, when Margot Robbie demanded that producers of Harley Quin: Birds of Prey ratchet down her character’s sexiness and ratchet up her scariness, male nerds lost their shit and boycotted the film, cursing feminists for intruding on “their” pop culture bailiwick. Because that’s the kind of clowns they are.
So in conclusion,
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I went to that character page and checked some dates. There was a McDonald’s ad campaign in Japan that was the catalyst for a NicoNico/YouTube meme back in 2008 or so. It can’t be a coincidence, right…?
The closest I’ve gotten to playing/watching Type-Moon media is Under Night In-Birth, so…
I’ve been meaning to check that out since i saw the Nostalgia Critic’s review of the Shyamalan movie (he hates it and a big part of explaining why it sucked involved explaining why the original was great). I keep hearing good things about it!
There’s an upcoming comic series from Dark Horse about Avatar Kyoshi, written by the show’s creators, so we may see your theory confirmed.
They’ve had a LOT more freedom from Nickelodeon with the comics than they did with the cartoons – the Legend of Korra sequel comic, Turf Wars, was able to be explicit about same-sex relationships that the cartoon could only strongly indicate, including a much-delayed Big Damn Kiss.
It all makes sense now! It’s not that most predators are men, it’s just that Stephen King convinced everyone that men in clownsuits are scary! Clearly King is the leader of the misandrist cult out to destroy masculinity and force us all to drink soy lattes.
What about his Woody Allen defense from last week?
Maybe it was to throw clever MRA off his scent and trick them into believing he’s one of them?
Clever MRA seems like a bit of an oxymoron.
@Surplus to Requirement
You’re right, the final girl trope is especially common in the slasher genre of horror, not necessarily horror in general. I should have specified that.
I recently saw Hitchcock’s Psycho for the first time and was surprised at how clearly the film explicitly distinguished Norman Bates from trans folk (though they use an outdated term by our standards). Especially considering the time in which the film was made. How do you feel it compares to Silence in regards to framing etc?
This seems vaguely pertinent to the scary clown discussion. Spotify used Pennywise in playlist for kids’ lullabies.
There are female killer clowns in ahs cult
King defended Woody Allen? Fuck. Although I’ll wait a bit before
throwing him under the bus – used to be a time I defended Roman Polanski myself (it’s no longer the case).
Not quite. From what I can tell from a fast Google search, the publishing company that was going to publish Woody Allen’s autobiography cancelled the deal after a bunch of people protested it. It was that cancellation King was upset about, not anything else involving Allen.
I haven’t seen psycho in quite some time, but I remember it coming across much better than The Silence of the Lambs in this respect, if only because Norman’s behavior doesn’t play as heavily into trans stereotypes as Buffalo Bill’s did. Though that may well have been an effect of the Hayes Code limiting what Hitchcock could depict.
I’d say Norman was coded as multiple-personality (don’t know if they called it that in 1961, but The Three Faces of Eve had come out four years earlier) rather than trans.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder) often gets used as a villain trope while simultaneously crossing into transphobia because it turns out the killer didn’t know they had a woman (or man, whatever the ‘opposite’ of their identity is) living in their head who was also a murderer. Dramatic reveal! There’s so much to unpack from that, and it’s just a cold natcho platter of awful tropes about mental illness, trauma, trans panic (what if I’M SECRETLY TRANS and don’t know it?), trans people being mentally ill and dangerous, people with DID being mentally ill and dangerous, and on and on.
Is that even possible? Being “secretly trans and don’t know it”, that is. (Aside from knowing you’re something-unusual but not knowing the name for it, of course.)
@Surplus : if people can be pregnant and not know it, they can be trans and not know it, just suffering without knowing why.
Since I was very young I knew I wasn’t a normal child of my assigned at birth gender but I didn’t realize I was trans* until much more recently. I’m not sure if that’s what you mean, since I was questioning my gender for many years before coming to a conclusion. I felt dysphoric but didn’t really have words for it or understand what it meant.
You’ve mentioned that you’re on the autism spectrum as well. How would you compare becoming aware of being trans to becoming aware of being autistic?
I’m cis but autistic, and I always knew I was different but never know quite how until I got diagnosed at 32.
I can only speak from my own experience but I was diagnosed as autistic when I was 4 years old, so I don’t remember too much about before that. I always did have a sense that mentally I was different (I talked a lot more than most kids my age being the most notable feature). When I was 4 I was told I was autistic, but it took me a bit longer to understand what that meant. However, knowing that I was autistic early did help with a number of things.
Gender was different in that unlike autism, I did not have an early diagnosis, but did feel “different” (I had dysphoria but didn’t know that’s what it was, and I knew I wasn’t a boy but wasn’t sure what I was, or how to phrase it). It took me a lot longer to figure out, but like figuring out that I am autistic, figuring out that I am trans* has explained a lot of things in various aspects of my life.
Thanks. Your experience with gender does sound rather similar to how I have experienced autism, especially how finally learning about how I was different explaining a lot of things.
Definitely. So much of my past makes much more sense when examined through the lens of being trans*. The same is true of autism as well technically, but I have known that for most of my life so there wasn’t really a dramatic realization moment.
How does dysphoria typically manifest?
It’s rather difficult to put in words and it’s different for different people, but for me it was this sense that my body really did not align with what I thought it should and this was distressing me. For example, I didn’t have breasts, so I would avoid getting undressed or being shirtless because I didn’t want to see my chest or genitals. Before I figured out that I was trans*, I simply assumed this was normal until I learned it wasn’t. I also was uncomfortable about being grouped with men or referred to as one because I didn’t think I was one.
It seems that for me and some other folx, dysphoria also amplified with depression. It got a lot worse when I was depressed for other reasons, and part of why it took me so long to understand was that I thought it was simply a form of depression manifesting.
TMI: there was also a sexual component. I didn’t like having sex or masturbating very much because I had to fulfill the “male” role and that stressed me out because of the incongruent with how I felt (the nudity didn’t help either). Still not super into either of those activities, but maybe once I transition more I will begin to feel more comfortable.
Regarding Fate: I actually love the Queen Arturia twist (i.e. Arthur is a woman), even though the original game design had a female protagonist with male Arthur. While some of the backstory makes less sense, other things are even more poignant. The Lancelot-Guinevere-Arthur triangle is even better: Arturia knew about the “infidelity” but was actually happy for her best friends, Lancelot couldn’t get over his guilt, and Guinevere was torn between duty and love married to a woman who couldn’t love her. It makes all three people active agents with their own worldview and values.