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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12 Unhealthy College Habits That Never Should Have Become Normalized

No, you shouldn't have to pull an all-nighter to pass every exam.

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College is a weird time in our lives, but it doesn't have to be bad for our health. Here are some trends I've seen on social media and watched my friends practice that really never should have become a "thing" for college students in the first place.

1. The "freshman 15."

Everyone has heard of the dreaded "freshman 15," where college freshmen gain 15 pounds because of access to all-you-can-eat dining halls. Rather than eating healthier options at the dining halls or, you know, only eating until you're full and not stuffing yourself, we've just accepted our fate to gain what's really a large amount of weight. Not a very healthy mindset.

2. Eating only junk food because we're "too poor" to buy real food.

For off-campus students, the theme is ramen and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. This is really not how it needs to be. You can buy a bunch of romaine lettuce for around $1 at the grocery store I go to in my college town, and other produce like broccoli, potatoes, and apples are always cheap. Shop sales and keep your pantry stocked on staples like dry pasta, rice, beans, and other canned vegetables. It's not that expensive to eat decently.

3. Gorging on food at the dining hall just because you can.

This is what leads to the freshman 15. Just because you can eat whatever you want doesn't mean you should.

4. Procrastinating EVERYTHING.

I'm always ahead of my schoolwork, but all of the people in my classes push things right down to the wire. It creates unnecessary stress. Just get things done in advance so you don't have to worry.

5. Being generally unorganized and struggling to keep your life together. 

Actually using my planner is one of the best things I've done for myself in college so far. I don't know why it became popular for college students to be a hot mess all the time, but again, do what you can to avoid putting unnecessary stress on yourself.

6. Pulling all nighters, ever.

If you don't understand it by midnight, you won't understand it any better by five in the morning. You'll do so much better with less studying and more sleep than the other way around. Take the L and go to bed.

7. Waiting until the very last minute to start studying for your finals.

This is what typically leads to the aforementioned all-nighters. If you have an exam in two weeks, start studying NOW. Give yourself time to figure out what you need to focus on and get in contact with your professor or a tutor if necessary. Do yourself the favor.

8. Getting blackout drunk Friday and Saturday night...every weekend.

A lot of college students like to drink. That's fine, I get it, college is stressful and you just want to have a good time. But you don't have to go out every night of every weekend and drink so much you don't remember anything that didn't occur between Monday-Friday every week. Give yourself a break from drinking every so often.

9. Getting iced coffee before class and being late because of it.

I always make sure I get to campus early if I plan to get Starbucks, which I often do. It's rude to come in late, and it's detrimental to your education to consistently miss class. Your coffee can wait if you're running late. Plan better next time.

10.  Committing to 10 different extracurriculars because "it'll boost your resume if you have more on it!"

If you only participate in one club where you're the head of marketing and the treasurer, that will look SO much better than if you participated in five clubs but were just...there for all of them. Excel in one thing rather than being mediocre in many.

11.  Skipping class whenever you feel like it.

You can take the occasional mental health day, but if you're just being lazy, you're only hurting yourself. Go to class. You're paying a lot of money for it, after all.

12.  Spending every last penny you have to go somewhere for spring break (Daytona Beach, anyone?).

"Broke" college kids always end up taking the most extravagant spring break vacations. I'm sure it's fun and you'll cherish the memories, but wouldn't you cherish that $500 more if you saved it for things you actually need rather than living off of ramen for a month when you get home?

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Social Media Can Bridge The Gap Of Communication Between The Two Genders

We have small devices hidden in the back pockets of our jeans that give us access to billions of users across the Internet, and all it takes is one post to spark a revolution.

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You spend time at least once a week going through your social feed. You even spend time once a day going through your social feed.

There is a power in the words you speak and post online, and these very words can impact others' lives, negatively or positively. As an example, according to the Huffington Post, women are met with being "…ignored, trivialized, or criticized by men…" online mainly because the rift between the two genders prevents proper communication.

Gender equality can be achieved by online engagement, or posting. In some cases, though, the opposite can be true. I personally love Instagram and will occasionally find myself scrolling through posts recommended by the platform itself simply so I can waste time and complain about that later. A few weeks ago, I happened to be relapsing into my Instagram addiction and found myself particularly drawn to a certain post by Rowan Blanchard, which had a caption reading that "Cis men are violent and dangerous and until numbers prove [her] wrong [she] won't be able to not make statements that can't be read as vague."

Now, MSNBC identifies activism today as "…easier than ever…" thanks to social media, with "…[facilitated] public dialogues and… a platform for awareness…," but the caption of Blanchard's post shown is not activism at its finest. In a brief synopsis, activist Rowan Blanchard, who you may know from the show "Girl Meets World," addresses her distaste for men, going so far as to generalizing them as dangerous. In my opinion, this is one step backward in the fight for equality rather than a step forward.

Men and women alike have our differences that we consistently brush over in angry online comments but never truly sit down and discuss. The presence of a civil conversation between members of opposing sides of the gender argument is astonishing, and I myself have never seen one online. These conversations act like haunting illusions of a future we can only dream of, as if such a situation is purely unattainable otherwise.

We fawn over the thought, calling ourselves servants at the hands of a society where men and women can join each other and claim that there is no reason to feel unequal. The idea is breathtaking, and the friendships between men and women would be endless. Unfortunately, modern-day social media displays misogyny, misandry, animosity and all forms of verbal destruction against both genders that I feel sorry to merely acknowledge.

Before I took a break from being active on social media, I used Instagram to showcase my thoughts on these issues. I found it compelling to have an audience of my close friends and acquaintances listening as I explained and rationalized about online sexism repeatedly.

Occasionally, the topic sparked up friendly conversation about disagreements, and being honest, I felt threatened by how unthreatening the discussion was. It was as if I was asking for a reason to feel angry, to feel offended, but I instead was met with the harsh reality that social media can allow engagement in normal conversation.

The culture that revolves around online discussion is brash and led by emotion rather than by statistics, and while Blanchard may claim that she wants precise statistics before she alters her position against men, many online still fail to recognize the validity of such numbers. Her use of a hasty generalization clearly shows the lack of structure within her argument; I may be solely pointing her out, but her rationale stands as an example of the obstacles we face in the path to gender equality.

MSNBC used Twitter demographics to explain the impact of current events revolving around gender debates on the amount of discussion about sexism, and the results show that social media holds power. It holds hope and determination and serves as a pathway to a society where we may be able to hold hands and know we have no fear of being inferior to one another. Our generation is accustomed to seeing this magnitude of a response online, but when imagining every person who tweeted about this, there is potential change that we can visualize.

We have small devices hidden in the back pockets of our jeans that give us access to billions of users across the Internet, and all it takes is one post online to go viral. Within minutes, we can reach out to hundreds or thousands of people, updating them about our lives. With the ability to contact an enormous number of people, the only question you are left to ask yourself is, "How will you bring about a positive change to social equality?"

Your response to this question is being awaited every moment of your life.

Disclaimer: Please note that this has been a speech previously submitted as an assignment in a class.

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