The Stripping Away of Harley Quinn

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Many believe the current success of this year’s film Suicide Squad is due to Harley Quinn. For years, she has been a comic book favorite among frothing fan boys and whimsical cosplayers. The last ComicCon I went to was filled with Harleys. It’s plain to see that Harley is DC’s golden goose to winning over movie and comic fans.
However, very few people know Harley’s purpose, or at least her purpose before she became a symbol of fantasy.
Harley and the Joker have a romantic relationship that makes many a Hot Topic customer salivate. They are cute, dangerous, goth, and overly dramatic. In fact, the Internet is buzzing that the perfect couple to imitate is Harley Quinn and Joker (#relationshipgoals).
Originally, that was never Harley’s intended past in the DC universe. Until she met the Joker, she was a successful psychiatrist in the Arkham Asylum. Then she fell in love with his renegade ways and gave up her profession. What seemed like a romantic relationship with the clown of chaos and his cutesy jester turned into a nightmare. The Joker would abuse Harley emotionally, physically, and psychologically through the series. In certain episodes, he would leave her for dead, sacrifice her to The Batman, and humiliate her. She was the slave of Mr. J, believing in the sliver of hope that her main squeeze truly loved her. Like most abusive relationships, The Joker would woo her back with promises only to return her to the cycle of abuse.
In certain episodes, Harley would find liberation by turning over Joker to Batman. In the video game, Injustice, she has enough of his abuse and turns him in to the authorities.
But is that who Harley is now?
The Harley Quinn of Suicide Squad seems more like a cash-in on the senseless antihero craze. These are the bad guys who are driven by violence and sexuality. Marvel has Deadpool. DC has Joker and Harley. There is a hysteria where the comic book world is falling in love with stylistic assassins who kill for irrational and random reasons. Fans think it’s hilarious that the Joker would beat someone to death with a bat while smiling. Deadpool will slice up as many people as possible just to get a chimichanga. All the while, these bad boys are playful monsters with the excuse that they have lost their minds.
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Harley takes that one step further. She is a role model for young female comic book fans. But she is senseless in violence, glorifying in irrational behavior, and a sex symbol. On top of that, she found the perfect boyfriend who happens to be a murderer. DC transformed her from a healthy warning not to fall for loveless creeps into a Victoria Secret model who loves to bash out people’s brains. Her provocative portrayal in the movie made even Margot Robbie (the actress who played her) uncomfortable.
One of my friends pointed out that Harley dressing provocatively and acting out is a symptom of her past abuse, meaning the writers are making her that way on purpose. If that is the case, it will be interesting to see how the consequences of her life unfolds in sequels (though I doubt highly the writers were thinking like that).
I have to admit that these hyperbole killers are fascinating. They commit murder for the oddest and most random reasons. I think we would all agree that seeing an actor play a calm and rational Joker would be disappointing. Not to forget that Harley’s personality is hilarious and fun to watch. But the point is still driven: fans often applaud antiheroes that live with sick and unhealthy habits.

Michael P M

I am a minister for Campus Ambassadors, a gymnastics customer service rep, a social media enthusiast and a writer. I try to collect obscure video games, I love comics and somewhere on Amazon I have a self published book. I am married to a beautiful and grounded woman. But most importantly, I have been seized by a great affection in the Lord.

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