The Over-Sexualization Of Harley Quinn

The Over-Sexualization Of Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn was never meant to be a character that merited imitation.
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Harley Quinn is an odd enigma in comic lore. She is unique in that she was created through the animated series and became so widely popular that the comics adopted her into comic canon. Now you can't consume anything Batman without Harley Quinn being plastered on it as a selling point.

Such as stuff like the Suicide Squad film, the Arkham video games, Odyssey articles and most recently, debuting on the moderately successful TV Show "Gotham." However, once a character becomes hugely popular, some character tampering and misunderstanding sets in. The problem really arose when "Suicide Squad" was marketed by showing of Margot Robbie's booty. That is the root of the issue when it comes to modern Harley Quinn portrayal.


Nowadays, when somebody is asked to describe Harley Quinn, nine times out of ten, they go straight to the fact that they think she is hot. They talk about her romantic relationship with The Joker. They talk about her obnoxious voice and how hot it is. They also claim her to be dumb and very fun. Hell, I've heard some girls aspire to be like her -- they believe she is a strong female character.

This was not always the case. If one were to go back to her origin on the terrific 90s animated "Batman" series, they would know what Harley Quinn was all about, and how important and engaging her character was. Harley is the rare exception to the rule where the comics and the fans have ruined her character, for she is far from a strong female character, and she is not someone any girl should aspire to be. Quite the opposite, actually.

Harley Quinn's character and story are metaphors for domestic violence and the tragedy of being caught in one. Her backstory was that she was a psychiatrist who was assigned to treat The Joker. He did his Joker thing and manipulated her, and twisted her into loving him and making her his pet.

A common misconception is that The Joker and Harley are a couple. The Joker is not capable of being in a relationship. He doesn't function like a normal human being. He uses Harley Quinn for his own personal gain and cares very little for her. He would only be upset if she were to die if it directly affected his plans. She is just a stooge who is a cut above his usual stooge.

Harley, on the other hand, is desperately in love with The Joker and truly believes he loves her. That's the tragedy of it. Joker is just as vicious to her as he is to everyone else. He is verbally and physically abusive, yet she never leaves him because she believes he loves her as much as she loves him -- a common trait in many domestic abuse situations. Harley Quinn was never meant to be a character that merited imitation.

She was meant to teach young girls about the dangers of domestic violence and to be an example of what not to be. She is a tragic character.

However, that has somehow now been lost in translation. It seems that the objective of Harley Quinn is to please hormonal teenage comic book geeks by making her outfits skimpier and to sell a bunch of Hot Topic T-shirts. She is a consistent cosplay choice at most comic conventions.

It honestly upsets me every time I hear someone say they want to be like Harley because she is badass. It upsets me even worse when they say they want a relationship just like Joker and Harley. It shows they don't know what they are talking about and that they completely missed the point of her. Domestic violence is a dumb thing that exists, but the hard reality is that it does exist. Harley Quinn was made with the best of intentions and those intentions have now been squandered by the culture we now live in.

So, now when you go see "Suicide Squad" and oogle at the beautiful Margot Robbie as she plays Quinn or when you talk about how powerful and strong she is when you play her in "Batman: Arkham Night" or read a comic where she gives The Joker a gift, just remember how tragic her character is and what she was meant to represent. Then let the cold breeze of reality chill your soul. The joke is most definitely on you.

Cover Image Credit: Kotaku

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5 Small Ways We Can Help the Planet Everyday, Not Just On Earth Day

Trust me, they're super easy.
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Earth Day has come and gone, but there are still so many ways for us to do our part and help our planet!

As a species, we have produced more plastic in the last ten years than we did in the entire last century. The average American throws away 185 pounds of plastic each year and half of it is only used once. When it's thrown away, the trash just floats along. Literally.

By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

This is really really not good. But, luckily, it's almost entirely avoidable.

Here's a list of things we can all do to keep our planet pretty and kick some ass for Mother Earth.

1. Ditch plastic straws

Yeah, you've probably heard this one before — but hear me out. We only use straws once and then we throw them away. They end up in the ocean and kill sea turtles. We're all guilty of this. Hell, I used to drink everything with a straw. But the important thing is that we change our ways and better not only ourselves but the environment.

If you still wanna use a straw, that's totally okay! Try using a glass or bamboo one. You can buy packs of them on Amazon for less than ten dollars, which isn't bad considering you'll be able to reuse these as many times as you want.

2. B.Y.O.F. (Bring your own fork)

And your own spoon. And knife, as well. If you plan on going out for the day and you don't want to bring your own food, you can just buy your lunch and use your own silverware. This way, you won't waste any plasticware and there is no unnecessary waste from your lunch.

3. Cups, too!

While we're on the subject of just bringing your own stuff, bring your own cup when you're out for the day! Whether it's your water cup or your travel coffee mug, bring it (even if you don't plan on making your own coffee or tea).

Why, might you ask? Well, because you can just go to your favorite cafe and get your favorite hot drink in your own cup! This is both more sustainable and more cost-effective (they actually charge you for the cup).

4. Don't! Use! Plastic! Bags!

No matter where you are or where you're shopping, please be sure to use a tote bag or any other kind of reusable grocery bag. It's better for the environment, it's easier for you to carry, and you can get one with whatever you want on it! Mine says "You look radishing" and it has a drawing of radishes. Very cute.

Also, if you're buying fresh produce, you can use lighter mesh bags instead of the plastic bags from the produce section!

5. For *that* time of the month

If you're a period-having person, you might want to rethink the way you handle your lunar cycle. On average, people who have periods will throw away 300,000 pounds of menstrual products in their lifetime. This is really really not cool.

I suggest switching from tampons and pads to menstrual cups and cloth pads. While the cups might seem weird at first, trust me — they aren't weird at all. Both cups and cloth pads are easier and longer lasting than your conventional period tools.


While there are a bunch of other tips I could most definitely talk about and rant about and advocate for, I feel like this is a good place to start.

Just be sure to reduce the number of one-time plastics you use and make sure you're cautious of the waste you produce.

Cover Image Credit: Penelope De La Cruz

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What YouTube Says About Our Generation

We can learn a lot from high school vlogs.
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Last week I wrote an article that sought to examine YouTube, not as an entertainment platform, but as a revolutionary and powerful tool, capable of documenting and preserving our generation in ways which no generation previously could.

I wrote:

"The ubiquity of cameras has made it so that our images are being captured constantly whether we realize it or not. And with YouTube and the Internet, we are seamlessly being cataloged into a massive and growing database of humanity ... I think of YouTube as a time capsule. Centuries from now, everyone can look back through YouTube and wholly experience our generation: its sights, sounds, issues, and—most importantly—the individual personalities of, not just its Kings and Queens, but its ordinary people."

With this article, and in subsequent articles, I'd like to elaborate on this concept by exploring and showcasing various content on YouTube. In doing so, I hope I can get some people to look at Youtube through a different lens—one that understands it as a historical tool.

In this article, I'd like to share a type of video I've found much of on YouTube: "day in the life of high school" videos. In these videos, someone goes around with a camera and basically shoots, in documentary style, a full day of high school.

Here's one from 1996:

One of the fascinating things about a video like this is that, when we watch it, we tend to see it in the context of the present. I'll watch the video, but instantly my brain seeks out the differences and similarities between high school in 1996 and in 2016 (when I graduated high school).

Through this video, we see, documented in an unbiased fashion, the lives of ordinary people. And through watching these people, we can also extrapolate further information about that generation. We are ALL a product of our times, whether we realize it or not. Everything posted on YouTube lends some kind of window into the present that it was posted in.

For example, at around 17 minutes into the video above, the cameraman begins to hum the Mission Impossible theme, a movie which came out in May of 1996, right about the time this video was shot. It was a big blockbuster hit and was most definitely on the minds of high schoolers like these. While that might not sound too fascinating right now in 2018, it will be a much more fascinating detail to those studying pop culture history 100 years into the future.

Now take a look at a modern "day of high school" video:

Now, imagine you were somebody in 1996 watching this video today. In just 20 years, we can already see tremendous generational differences. In the 1996 video, people were detached when confronted with a camera; it was something strange to them. In 2018, the digital age has taken over completely. In this video, everyone understands that he is "vlogging," a term that didn't exist in 1996.

In fact, everything about this video screams of our generation: the slang, the music, the fast jump cuts, the concept of a "YouTuber," the dress, the technology, Internet culture, how everyone's plugging their Internet identities (Instagram, SoundCloud, etc.)... the list goes on and on. Going from the 1996 day of high school and then jumping to this one really puts my generation into perspective.

This video is much more polished and edited, and its clearly made with the intention to project oneself to an audience, rather than for purely documentary purposes like the video from 1996 was. It brings to light an unforeseen force working all around us: the rise of a new type of global culture, one that, through social media, is growing larger by the day.

But these are just two videos out of over a billion YouTube videos. Estimated, it would take 60,000 years of non-stop watching to watch every video that is on YouTube right now. That is a LOT of content, and ALL of that is focused on the thoughts, concerns, issues, and realities of THIS generation.

We will leave a footprint unlike any other generation in history; I think its important for all of us to understand that.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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