Freakshows: Right Or Wrong?

Ever since I can remember I’ve always been fascinated by the strange and unusual.

I remember watching “The Elephant Man” when I was very young, I was fascinated by what I was seeing. I recall wishing I could reach into my TV and pull that hat and face cover off his head as my curiosity was sky high as to what was underneath.

Since that day I’ve read any book I could find that featured side-show and freak-show performers and the subject still continues to fascinate me to this very day, probably even more so.
Nowadays the sideshow is nowhere near the grand scale that it once was. This is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on the way you view it. The subject can create arguments as to whether there should still be such a thing in this day and age.

Some say it’s a subject that’s not very politically correct and is not right by today’s standards, we live in a world where people are easily offended and the word ‘freak’ is one of that can cause real insult.

Whilst I understand that there are people out there offended by it, there are those who truly embrace it and in all honestly I love them for it, the spirit of it and the bravery it takes.

What you have to remember is that today’s sideshow and the vintage sideshows are two completely different things, instead of gawping at oddities like they’d give you a disease we embrace them for what they are, human performers.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing a modern day sideshow that featured human contortionists, sword swallowers and people that would be considered ‘freaks’ and you’d see the excitement and joy on their faces as they performed for the crowd.

I think people still see these shows as something from the 18 and 1900’s but long gone are the days of exploitation and slave labour, now it’s the ‘freaks’ who are in charge, so to speak.

These people are empowered and proud of who they are and what their talents are, whether their natural gifts or something they’ve learnt themselves.

It’s time for people to stop feeling guilty by their intrigue and curiosity of this world, these people who say how awful it is usually aren’t even involved in that world so they don’t see how different things are to what they think.

I’m fascinated by any sideshow/freakshow (whatever you want to call it) old or new, yes I know a-lot of the old ones where unethical but it’s still history and I’m someone who has a big interest in history.

I’m someone who is fascinated by the strange, the unusual, the weird, the odd, the abnormal, the peculiar, the bizarre, the macabre, however you want to put it.

I don’t feel guilty about this, infact it’s something I’m proud of and if you’re the same you should be too, don’t be ashamed to find this world of freakdom so intriguing.

As the famous ‘freak’ Ben Woolf said: “We’re all freaks in our own way. If there were no freaks then everyone would be normal.”

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