Jane Barnell 1-3-1871 – 10-26-1951 bearded lady aka Lady Olga or Madame Olga._1915

It is for the purpose of understanding that Sideshows should exist. Fortuna is the goddess of chance and it is sheer chance that you are not a freak (even though there is a chance that your are). Sideshows gave people a chance to be around other people who understood because they had similar problems.

I show Jane Barnell; her mother sold her to the circus, when she was four while her father was on a business trip. Barnell’s father had to search to bring her back and then the little girl went to live with her mother’s mother. As an adult, Barnell ran back to the circus life.

The picture shows one of Barnell’s four husbands. Initial reaction is based on attraction, but many can look beyond the physical façade and those who have a freakish quality must understand that others can understand. Barnell lost track of her siblings because she thought that they couldn’t accept her, but it is obvious at least one if not more would have given her emotional support.

The freak has a different perspective than a person of social norm. Many feminists want to peddle their wares (sexual assets), but the freak has a different asset; which, sometimes acts a disability. It may seem freakish to add a freakish feminist faction to my fictional feminist cult, but I see the reasoning. Some bearded ladies can hide their unique feature; which, may be useful as I design the character.

Barnell felt uncomfortable about her role in Tod Browning’s film, Freaks; but I believe the film makes a valuable point. Fear plays a role. Both the freak and the norm must understand the fear; in order to get past it. Brains can have freakish qualities; too, and some have an abnormal amount of social fear. Training the brain to handle the fear should occur early, in life, because it will get more difficult to train with each passing day.

The picture comes from Jane Barnell’s Wikipedia page.

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