In her article titled Are Female Clowns Like the Others? circus artist, and author of the book The New Clowns: A Sociological Approach to the Identity, Profession and Art of the Clown Today(2014), and doctor of sociology in art, Delphine Cézard weighs in on the role of women in the history of clowning, and by extension, the history of women in circus. Cézard notes that the clown has long been the emblem of circus in the popular conscience and is portrayed in media almost always as a man. But surely there have been women clowns? Cézard visits their historical entrée in to the world of circus and its impact, noting that, “Historically, women’s access to artistic creation has always been limited. For a long time the woman has been treated as a privileged figure of the sacred especially in connection with passive inspirational postures: muses, saints, brides, goddesses, madonnas.” If women are held up as muses and sacred objects, then how can they enter the realm of sacrilege and embrace the paradoxes of humanity through humor? Cézard describes one method, which was to subvert one’s gender in order to gain access to the comedic, as Annie Fratellini herself admits she did to be a clown,”to make disappear the woman as soon as [she] evoked [t] the clown.”
Read the Full Article in French at Artcena
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