Samuel Brace on Suicide Squad’s sexualisation of Harley Quinn…
Margot Robbie is hot. This isn’t controversial. This is a popular opinion. Men find her attractive. Men find her sexy. Harley Quinn, a character in the upcoming film, Suicide Squad, is one of the focal points of that movie. She will be driving much of that films plot. Margot Robbie was cast to play this character. WB, DC, the director and the casting director, know Margot Robbie is sexy, they know she is desired. She was cast for her abilities as an actress and because they know sex sells. It would be naive to be think this wasn’t the case, it is the case, and there is nothing wrong with that.
We, as a culture, as people, love movie stars. We become obsessed with them. We adore them for the joy they bring to our lives. Movie stars are movies stars because they are, more often than not, among other things, sexy. They are attractive. So when Margot Robbie, one such movie star, playing one of the main selling points of a movie, bent over somewhat suggestively in the new Suicide Squad trailer, I wasn’t mad because of the sexual connotations presented. There are sexual connotations. She is sexy. I didn’t care about the sexualisation of the character in question. But why did everyone else? The character in this film is an attractive woman who isn’t naive to that very fact. She, most likely, will be using her sexuality as a tool — a perfectly normal thing for someone to do. Even forgetting that this character is psychotic and wouldn’t care less about being ‘appropriate’, the fact that there is a deal being made about this ‘issue’ at all is quite bizarre.
A lot of the heat isn’t just coming from her behaviour or her actions, but from the way she is dressed. But this argument is only coming from people who are too dim to understand the difference between a film and real life. If Harley Quinn dresses in a revealing, provocative manner, does that mean the film is sexualising her or the character is doing that to herself? In the world of the film, from what we can tell, she decided to dress that way, she picked those clothes and decided to wear them. She made the choice, as an adult, to present herself in that manner. Even if the people controlling Harley Quinn and her fellow squad members made her dress that way, that wouldn’t mean the film is necessarily being sexist. The characters making her dress that way could be branded with such a label, but not the film itself. Only if Margot Robbie came out and said, for example, the film’s producers made her dress that way, against her will, would the film become sexist. A piece of fiction is capable of presenting ideas and characters with ideas, without having to believe in them itself. If you wrote a book with a racist character in it, that doesn’t necessarily make you racist as the author. We have to learn to separate fiction from reality, a task apparently quite challenging for some.
Harley Quinn being sexualised, being hot and knowing it, is not a bad thing. As mentioned, you don’t cast someone like Margot Robbie if the character appearing this way is not your intention. Of course you want the stars of your movie to be sexy. So what are we so afraid of? Do we really want a frigid, cold void for a lead character if the film isn’t about such a person? This is a comic book movie, a popcorn flick to enjoy, with an aesthetic to be marveled. The characters in the film, their physical beauty, count as a part of that aesthetic. None of us have seen Suicide Squad yet, but I can tell you now, there is nothing in this film that is dangerous or that is degrading to women. Putting to one side if sexualisation of women is wrong or not, just knowing the fact that Suicide Squad is a film and not a documentary excludes it from being sexist. Unless, like we’ve discussed, actors came out and said women were treated unfairly and made to do things they were uncomfortable with. If characters in the movie are treated poorly, are used as just objects of desire, the most we can assume is that the movie wants to shine a light on the issue, i.e. that sexism is a theme.
Having a trailer, an advert for your product, which has the attractive leading actress display her sexuality isn’t wrong and it isn’t offensive. What is offensive, what should be odious to women, are the claims that Harley’s sexualisation is a bad thing. If instead of a woman bending over, there was a man taking his shirt off, no one would say a word. This would be a non issue. So what we are saying is that women are incapable of exhibiting their sexuality without being victims to those that find their allure attractive. But men and women are equal… aren’t they? Fake feminists, PC police and SJW’s would have you believe they are for equality in film and television, but they are not. They don’t think women A) have the right to display their femininity or B) have the ability to defend themselves from unwanted attention. They are wrong. Women do have the right and they are capable. We don’t need to coddle them by covering them up and treating them as bland, delicate, undesirable snowflakes. Women deserve more respect than that. They deserve as much respect as men. The accusations leveled at Suicide Squad‘s presentation of Harley Quinn come from those that don’t believe in such respect being given, from those who don’t believe in such equality. They are the danger, not Harley Quinn flashing some thigh.
I think we are all capable of enjoying Suicide Squad for what it is, a film, a film that stars an attractive actress who is playing a character that dresses suggestively. Simple. No foul play, no cause for alarm. Until the evidence suggests otherwise we can all chill and the PC police just need to go away. We don’t want them here. They have invaded our homes, attacked our freedoms and liberties in our everyday lives and now they are coming for our films. They don’t understand the difference between fiction and reality. They can’t comprehend a creator being capable of presenting ideas that he/she doesn’t necessarily believe in. They are unattractive people themselves so they want Margot Robbie to be ashamed of her sexuality. They want to judge a film and those that make it, on the decisions of a fictional character that she plays. Harley Quinn dressing provocatively and behaving sexually isn’t sexist, it’s just sex, and what the hell is wrong with that?