Ok here’s my unpopular opinion of the day.
Harley Quinn sucks.
Yeah I said it. She <beeping> SUCKS.
Not only is she perennially irritating and totally unnecessary as a character – a love-interest to an absolute sociopath, which is an oxymoron – but she is the epitome of a woman abused by a man whom she loves, and keeps going back to him no matter what he does to her.
It annoys me no end to hear all these silly young women going on about how “cool” she is, even going so far as to call her a “strong woman”, a decidedly feminist epithet which means they have never looked at her character at all. They only see that she’s female and she carries a baseball bat so they figure she’s a “strong woman”.
Nope. She’s dangerous, yes, but she’s just another of the Joker’s many victims.
To cite an example that all Canadians will know, and that some of our foreign readers may have heard of, the murderous couple of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, who terrorised the suburbs of Toronto in the early 90’s, could be likened to Joker and Harley – they are both despicable, but he was always the mastermind, the dominant abuser who claimed to love her but really just used her as part of the sick game he was playing. Bernardo threatened to kill her, and likely beat her when she disobeyed him as well. She made her choice to involve herself in the homicidal depravity he craved, so she wasn’t totally innocent, but she was certainly another kind of victim to him – someone totally devoted to him, that he could manipulate and torment and hurt at will.
Replace Bernardo with Joker, and Homolka with Quinn, and that’s exactly what goes on between the two fictional characters.
Being a victim is not what feminism is supposed to be about…although these days, being constantly afraid, oppressed, and “needing a safe space” seems to be what feminism has become.
Here’s a link on the right to an article written on thefederalist.com by Nicole Russell about that exact attitude:
Perhaps Harley Quinn is actually more fitting than I thought as a “role model” in the modern version of feminism.
If I were going to choose a female character in the DC Universe who is exemplifies admirable qualities, it wouldn’t be her. Wonder Woman comes to mind of course, but also Batgirl or Hawkgirl. They are all capable, confident, powerful women who don’t sacrifice their femininity for their self-reliance, or vice versa.
There are so many others to choose from. Harley Quinn is probably the worst choice I can think of as a role model of any sort. I’d rather my (hypothetical) daughter look up to Cat Woman, a morally flexible self-centered coquette, before Quinn. Thoughts?