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The Female Perspective: Harley Quinn v. Wonder Woman

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


I’ll preface this blog by saying I have not read any comics with Harley Quinn. I’ve done some looking into her backstory and watched a Justice League movie awhile back, but I am by no means a HQ expert, so I ask those that are experts to be kind and offer up some corrections if I do get anything incorrect here. This blog is entirely based on my opinions, nothing more. I don’t presume to be spouting facts!

That being said…

Like many folks, I am looking forward to the Suicide Squad movie with baited breath. Unlike many, I have enjoyed the Superman movies that have come out as late so my expectations are not as low for Suicide Squad as many others. I think this looks fun and I don’t give one great big hoot about the reviews that have come out stating otherwise, I don’t trust reviewers and like to experience a movie for myself.

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I have heard of a few of the characters and one in particular, Harley Quinn, is one I’ve seen in cosplay form a lot at various cons.  She’s a popular one, in all her various iterations and I’ve always wondered why. From the research I’ve done and from what I’ve seen, I am not overly impressed with her character. She’s in love with The Joker (we’ve all made bad choices in love, so that I am okay with) and eventually goes crazy from that and becomes a villain, and eventually more of an anti-hero. All right, all of that I can deal with. What I don’t like and what really irritates the holy heck out of me is the weird, totally dysfunctional and abusive relationship she has with The Joker. He shoved her in a vat of acid and yet, she still loves him. There is literally nothing he can do that would make her not love him. It bothers me, and I thought about the reasons why it bothers me. It’s just a comic book right? It’s not real life. But the fact is, young girls do look up to these heroes and villains, they do emulate them and I have seen many young women wearing Harley Quinn costumes and I think, why her? What is it about her that makes you want to be her in some way? I may have to ask a few HQ’s at the next con I attend because I am honestly curious.

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I’ve always been a huge fan of Wonder Woman. Her strength, beauty and smarts are compelling and inspiring. While she may have fallen in love from time to time, it never seemed to be the thing that defined her as a character. She was defined by her power, her mission and her fairness. Of course, she’s the polar opposite of HQ because one is a hero and the other a villain, so of course they’re going to have different stories. I know this and yet, I do not get why anyone would want to be HQ. She’s abused, she’s mis-treated and she’s debased by The Joker time and time again and yet, she comes back for more.

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I think for me, her backstory rubs me the wrong way because I’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship so watching anyone (fictional or otherwise) go through that pushes my buttons.  It’s a personal thing, sure it is, but isn’t that the beauty of good art? It triggers you (for good or bad), it makes you feel one way or the other. I guess the creators of HQ did a good job with her if I feel so strongly anti-Harley Quinn and so very pro-Wonder Woman. As I said on the outset, I don’t presume to know everything about Harley Quinn so if I’m off the mark, let me know, please. I’d love to learn what makes her so popular!

For me WW represents everything I wanted to be as a kid. Not a super hero so much as a woman with integrity, morals, bravery and strength. For me, watching HQ just makes me feel ill-at-ease. I want her to shove the Joker in a vat of acid and walk away, never to speak to or think about him again. I want her to be emotionally stronger than she seems to be. I guess what I’m saying is I want her to be a hero.  Which I realize may be a ridiculous wish to have for a comic book character.

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What do you think? Who’s your favorite between the two?

Wonder Woman or Harley Quinn? Or is it someone else?

Why? Sound off in the comments!

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