Clowns have always occupied an oscillating role in the collective imagination. From their earliest iterations as court jesters and pranksters of medieval Catholic carnivals, to infamous modern clowns like Bozo, they’ve always made us laugh. They’ve scared the shit out of us, too — as anyone who’s seen It or House of 1,000 Corpses knows, there’s nothing creepier than a sinister freak dressed as something fun and innocent.
But now, in the 2020s, the role of the clown has shifted once more. Suddenly, clowns are… kind of hot. Why else would everyone be talking about clussy?
“Clussy,” a portmanteau for “clown pussy,” has been a popular noun around the horny internet for a while. First emerging on Tumblr in 2017 after the remake of It when someone suggested losing their virginity to Pennywise, the term hit its peak this month and was recently trending on Twitter. According to KnowYourMeme — who’s been tracking this for years — the latest clussy revival is based on one thing: a particularly sexy villain from the 2016 video game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
In the game, Geiru Toneido, otherwise known as Ace Attorney Clown Girl, is a bosomous pink-haired balloon artist whose boobs jiggle as she contorts balloons into various shapes. She looks like a cute woman in a fun pink outfit, except that she also wears a red clown nose. Oh, and she’s also homicidal.
Murderous clown or not, Toneido is pretty hot. But something about the jubilance and festivity of her occupation as a clown accentuates her allure, at least in the eyes of her fans. Per KnowYourMeme, people have been hornyposting about her for years, but new sexualized fanart of her on Twitter has made her a common object of people’s affections once more. On Sunday, an illustrated GIF on Twitter showed Toniedo with a penis between her breasts, snapping her suspender straps so they jiggled around it. “Boob clussy,” the poster called it. Dozens more posted pictures of Toneido saying they had “clussy fever.”
It makes perfect sense that Toneido would have such a following. While the nose and balloon artistry signal her status as a clown, her aesthetics are otherwise in line with countless other e-girls. For all intents and purposes, she’s a conventionally attractive character.
But there are some other clowns, ones who are far less immediately sexy, who’ve been similarly sexualized in recent years. Pennywise is a good example, but the adoption of Juggalo aesthetics on TikTok marks a similar phenomenon. There, the use of horror-themed clown makeup is often paired with racy outfits, just as it often is among some Juggalo circles. Even Harley Quinn and her jester stylings could be considered a variation on this theme. And, of course, it’s not difficult to find clown-themed porn.
Ultimately, all this does is reflect a perpetual truth about clowns: Whether funny, scary or sexy, they’ve always been liminal figures capable of subverting norms and fulfilling a variety of roles. The clown is someone for us to place myriad desires or beliefs upon, and that people are horny for this one particular clown and her clussy is part of a long tradition.
We may not always be thinking about clussy, but it will always be there for us anyway.