Given the recent release of the Suicide Squad trailer (which personally I thought was too long and gave too much away), there has been a lot of discussion and deconstruction of it. However, one thing that has really been bothering me about the discussion, both before and after the trailer’s release is the attitude towards Harley Quinn.
Since when has it been acceptable to slut shame someone just because you don’t like their clothing? Since when has it been okay to call someone “Harlot Harley”, “Whorely Quinn”, “sleazy”, “Slutty” or “skanky” because you personally don’t like their style?
You can see some of the worse in the comments of Io9 recent article about the Suicide Squad (I’m not accusing the Io9 authors of anything as they’ve been really cool), but I see it everywhere the film is being discussed and quite frankly, I find it really uncomfortable.
I know of women who dress in similar clothing, hell one of my closest friends from school, who taught me much about what I know of feminism liked to dress in similar clothes after school. The idea that these people feel that women choices give them the right to shame them or be called attention seekers makes me feel sick.
What’s more is that this is the same B.S. we call out when it involves people shaming Cosplayers. Hell even for other series like the new Ghostbusters, we call out those who are shaming the actresses for being too fat or just being women.
Personally, I have no problem with how she dresses in the movie. In fact, I would wear something similar if I had the right body for it (hell, I might go as a gender swap Movie Quinn to the next London/Glasgow Comic-Con). Would it be acceptable for people to call me a skank? Would it be okay for me to be shamed in that situation?
But the saddest thing is that we’ve collectively decided as fandom that it is completely allowable to slut shame Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. If you look through the comments of that io9 post I linked to, or simply just look up any discussion of Suicide Squad Harley Quinn or Suicide Squad in general, you will see that the people that shame her never get called out.
Why? Because it is a DC movie of course and people prefer the original Harley design, those are acceptable reasons to be a horrible reason right? Then again, given that some of these are probably the same people who thought psychologically torturing kid Jake Lloyd because they didn’t like Episode 1 or fat shaming Alicia Silverstone to the point of people singing “nahnahnahnahnah nahnahnahnahnah Fatgirl!” at her at conventions because they didn’t like Batman & Robin was acceptable. I shouldn’t be surprised.
I’m not saying you have to like her look in the Suicide Squad or even you shouldn’t be allowed to criticize it. What I’m saying is, you not liking it doesn’t give you the right to shame her for it and the fact that many of us feel it does is incredibly disheartening.
Lastly, I’m really happy to see that nearly all of us regular Observation Deck users haven’t been getting involved in those types of discussions (: