Occasionally in the 90s we’d get a cartoon that would dedicate at least one episode to feminism or at least some vague notion of female empowerment. Batman: The Animated Series is no exception, and the episode “Harley and Ivy” is definitely one of my all-time favorites—after all, it introduced me to my absolute favorite femslash pairing. The episode in general does some great things, but it’s also still pretty problematic. At the heart of these problems is how we get feminism promoted to us through two female villains, causing it to look more like straw feminism than actual feminism. Despite that, though, this episode addresses everything from sexism to abusive relationships, street harassment, and female friendships.
Since Suicide Squad came out, I have seen a lot of pictures of Joker and Harley or just blog posts talking about them and occasionally I will see #RelationshipGoals on the posts. People are saying that they want a Joker to their Harley, and I’m not going to lie, that worries me a little bit. I don’t care what people ship necessarily or what they write fanfic about, but it very much worries me when fans look at a canonically clearly abusive relationship and claim that they want a relationship like that. These relationships almost always involve men with female victims, which makes it very disturbing to me as a woman that so many people view such relationships as romantic. It makes me worry for people’s safety and reminds me how much we need feminism.
Trigger warning for abusive behavior and relationships below the jump.
Lady Geek Girl: Recently Blackout (one of our former writers), Ace, and I all went to see Suicide Squad, a movie that had already received someof the worstreviews ever even before it hit theaters. This was a movie that the three of us were very much looking forward to. We loved all the characters and wanted nothing more than to see this movie reignite the DC Extended Universe. So how do we feel about this movie now that we’ve seen it?
…It didn’t exactly go as we had hoped. DC Comics seems to continually want to let us down these days. Each time we get excited and think that maybe this time we will get something good, something worthy of the characters we love—and each time thus far we have been colossally disappointed. But this movie takes the cake when it comes to bad DC movies. Not only does the movie’s plot make little to no sense, it also succeeds in being both racist and sexist.
Aaaah! The more I see of the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, the more excited I get. I’m even more pleased with this trailer than the first. It shows a little bit more of the humorous aspects of the movie while still keeping the “gritty edge” that DC Comics seems unwilling to let go of for any of their movies.
Harley Quinn is one of my all-time favorite characters. I have a lot of feelings about Harley Quinn, and it has been one of my greatest wishes ever to see Harley Quinn in a live-action movie. So when I first heard about Suicide Squad becoming a movie, I was very excited. Harley has been a major player in the Suicide Squad comic and it’s always interesting to see the kind of person Harley is away from her evil counterpart and love interest, the Joker. That was always part of the appeal for me. No matter what, the Joker’s character kind of looms over Harley even when he is not present. Through mental, physical, emotional, and verbal abuse, the Joker molded Harley into the villain we see in the comics. But I think Harley is at her most interesting when she is removed from the Joker’s influence. We get to meet something of the real Harley when she is away from the Joker, and Suicide Squad was one of those comics that gave us a rare opportunity to do that.
In the New 52 her story is a little different than the original. She is still a psychiatrist who is seduced by the Joker, but she is seduced more by his ability to show her how to wield power and live freely. The original Harley was very much tricked by the Joker. He makes her think he had a broken home, a bad past, and that he doesn’t mean to be a bad guy but he can’t help it (and somehow it always ends up being all Batman’s fault). Harley falls for it and falls in love with him. The New 52 Harley is not fooled by the Joker trying to play on her emotions. She is only truly seduced by him after he gives her the severed thumb of the man who killed her father. Eventually, however, this new Harley leaves the Joker. While their relationship is still very clearly abusive and codependent, Harley seems more willing to separate from the Joker. And she’s more capable of making her own decisions, though it’s clearly hard on her when the Joker doesn’t care or notice. Though she still loves him and wants to be with him on some level, this Harley seems to be more aware that the Joker is bad for her. Her codependency and psychological issues are still everpresent and very connected to the Joker, but, at the same time, Harley is more willing to leave the Joker and pursue other romantic relationships in the New 52. (For more info about Harley’s history and development click here.)
In the new Suicide Squad movie, I was excited to see what version of Harley would be featured. Or if would be a mix of her various incarnations. But alas, once promo pictures and more news about Harley’s character in the Suicide Squad movie were revealed, I and other fans became dubious about this phenomenal female character’s portrayal. And sadly for me the issue revolves once again around her costume.
The Batman mythos certainly holds a special place in my heart. I daresay it’s one of my more favorite comics out there. Sadly, for a story about people suffering from various disorders, both mental and physical, Batman does a pretty shoddy job at actually portraying disabilities. In fact, it in many instances actively encourages violence against people with disorders, instead of delving into what those disorders actually are and how best to respond to mental illness.
I suppose this doesn’t surprise me. I highly doubt that Batman would be as enjoyable if it wasn’t about a violent vigilante and the various criminally insane rogues he fights. It leaves me feeling torn. On the one hand, I’m insulted by how the narrative handles mental disorders. On the other, I’m still in love with both the story and the characters.
Enter fanfiction. And a trigger warning for gore and self-mutilation under the cut.
Now that I’ve finished playing all the Arkham games, I desperately wanted to learn more about that particular universe. Unfortunately, Arkham Knight isn’t out yet. So imagine my joy and happiness when I stumbled upon Assault on Arkham, an animated movie that takes place between Arkham Origins and Arkham Asylum.