Harley Quinn has built an impressive fandom for herself, especially if you realize that she has only been around since the early 90s and was introduced in the iconic Batman The Animated Series. Since then Harley has made big waves and can be called one of the DC money makers with her comic often being included in the top 10 best-selling comics of the week it comes out.
People love her. Girls want to be her and guys want to be with her. But is she the tragic victim of the Joker, or just a maniac that found someone she can share her insanity with? I believe in more of the latter and here is why.
She had some questionable morals before ever meeting the Joker. Before working at Arkham she had sex with her Professor to get the grade she wanted.
She also was specifically interested in working at Arkham and on the Joker because she thought she would be that guy from The Dark Knight Returns, writing a book on the insane criminals and making a ton of money from it, writing a bestselling book and getting TV/Movie deals out of it.
Obviously, that failed when her ego placed her right into the Joker’s trap. Some will say that Harley suffers from Stockholm Syndrome, maybe later in the relationship and certainly in some versions, but in the first origin which was depicted in Mad Love. We see that she had all the power in the relationship and gave it willingly away.
Definition of Stockholm Syndrom: an emotional attachment to a captor formed by a hostage as a result of continuous stress, dependence, and a need to cooperate for survival.
Stockholm Syndrom is the mind trying to help you survive a hostage situation by making you feel empathy for the person threatening you, which might lead to him/her feeling the same for you. But Harley was in a position of power and just fell for his lies because her ego made her believe that the Joker would be honest to her. How the Joker would put it, he just gave her a little push.
Now I want to talk about the trend of calling Joker & Harley Quinn’s relationship, goals, which has been indicated by the romanticized version of their relationship that was portrayed in Suicide Squad.
I want to make this clear. Joker sees Harley as a toy and not a romantic partner. She is just above the gorilla he once had (to be fair it was a great gorilla).
Second Harley is obsessed with the Joker in an incredibly unhealthy way, I would even question if she really feels love for him or just has a helper complex, wanting to save the Joker and to a degree, uses her femininity as an excuse to get sympathy (at least that’s Batman’s opinion on it) by acting as a victim while truly being as insane as the Joker.
Opposite to what you might think, she even broke the Joker out, without him asking her to do it. She decided that breaking him out would save him, in her eyes he didn’t need saving from himself. He needed saving from Batman.
I personally don’t understand why people glorify her in this aspiring way, we all enjoy the Joker as a character to a degree and love talking about him but we don’t aspire to be him in the way it seems some young girls aspire to Harley these days. You shouldn’t aspire to a romance like Joker and Harley or aspire to be Harley or for that fact Joker. They’re both fascinating but they aren’t role models.
What do you think of the way Suicide Squad has changed the relationship of Harley & Joker?