With every new trailer that comes out for Suicide Squad, there’s more ire towards Harley Quinn’s character, or more appropriately, what she’s wearing (or not wearing). To hear the internet say it, Harley Quinn is being more sexualized than ever before–that they’re taking her character and stomping on it for the sake of eye candy. I’ve even heard it said that they’re dumbing her down.
To which I say…have you EVER seen Harley Quinn before?
Harley debuted on the Batman the Animated Series, so that’s the definitive origin. And Harley Quinn was always what you would call a bimbo. Once an educated psychiatrist, she became vapid, silly, and prone to pratfalls once she fell under the Joker’s sway (i.e. when she became Harley Quinn).
That’s not to say she was a bad character–quite the opposite. She was an incredibly tragic figure, overly devoted to an abusive maniac, and desperate for his love. But even then, on this kids’ show, Harley was a sexual being.
Remember the episode where Harley covered herself in pudding and tried to “entice” the Joker? Or the famous episode “Mad Love,” where she comes into the Joker’s office in a skimpy nightie and says “Don’t you wanna rev up your Harley?”
And that was just the animated series. Since then, Harley has taken on a life of her own in the comics, and it’s been far more mature.
Even in her one-piece gymnast suit days, the artists sure did love to hug her figure. And now? Harley wears a corset and booty shorts. Even in the Arkham video games, Harley’s cleavage is really all you see.
Now we come to Suicide Squad and Margot Robbie’s take on the character. We still have the Booty Shorts, but she’s wearing a tee-shirt now, and even a jacket in some shots. She’s actually more covered up now than in the comics and video games.
But of course, a woman can be sexualized in full coverage, too, so let’s look at the trailers. Hmm, pouring drinks…laughing…pointing her bat like a gun…smashing stuff with aforementioned bat…raving in her cage…doing gymnast stuff…reading a book…stealing jewelry…oh, yeah, and that one three-second shot of her butt in the booty shorts.
Oh dear, hide the children…
From what I’m hearing, Suicide Squad is doing a disservice by sexualizing the character. From the look of things, however, her sexuality is quite toned down, and even if she is sexualized, frankly, that’s par for the course.
Even in her PG-rated beginnings, Harley was a sexual person, fond of using her body to get what she wanted. She’s always been drawn to excite and entice. The movie looks no worse.
As for the rest of her character, we really can’t judge yet; but let’s look at the history: Harley has always been more of a doer than a planner. She’s no Riddler, Ra’s Al Ghul, nor Bane. In fact, part of her character is that she often pushes aside what brainpower she has to make way for the crazy. (And on that note: crazy people probably don’t care how they dress.)
It seems to me that Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is right in line with the rest of them. Sexy, vapid, nutty, and violent, and the trailers haven’t shown too much of any of those things.
So why don’t we wait until the movie comes out to judge it? And let’s all remember: Harley Quinn is a great character, but she was never ever going to win the Miss Modesty award.