Margot Robbie Defends Harley Quinn’s Outfit in Suicide Squad

Thursday, 28 April 2016 - 9:12PM
DC Comics
Suicide Squad
Thursday, 28 April 2016 - 9:12PM
After Batman v Superman proved to be a disappointment for many, fans are looking to Suicide Squad to redeem DC movies from the critical hell it's found itself in. From the trailers and everything else released about the movie so far, it looks like it could very well do just that.  

That's not to say that everyone is pleased with all aspects of it, though, as there's certainly been some amount of talk in and out of fan communities regarding Harley Quinn's outfit. Now, the actress playing Harley, Margot Robbie, has commented on the decision in a recent interview with the New York Times. The director, David Ayer, also got a comment in about it as well:

Opening quote
Her character is 'wearing hot pants because they're sparkly and fun,' she said, not because 'she wanted guys to look at her ass.'

But, she added: 'As Margot, no, I don't like wearing that. I'm eating burgers at lunchtime, and then you go do a scene where you're hosed down and soaking wet in a white T-shirt, it's so clingy and you're self-conscious about it.'

Mr. Ayer said that 'I didn't think denim overalls would be appropriate for that character' and that Ms. Robbie understood 'that's part of the iconography.'

Should there be a 'Suicide Squad' sequel, she said, half-jokingly and half not, 'I'm not wearing hot pants next time.'
Closing quote

It's great that Robbie knows the character so well, because the idea that Harley would wear the shorts because they are "sparkly and fun" is terribly on point for the character. At the same time, the Suicide Squad costume is no doubt one of the most revealing ones that has ever been given to Quinn before (and she's had a number of revealing costumes over the years).

Ayer's comments, however, are a bit off base. The thing that makes Harley Quinn an iconic character is not that she wears little clothing (and that's not even true for half of her costumes), it's her association with the Joker and the interesting ways that the likes of Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and others have characterized her for the past two decades. If Ayer was looking for an iconic costume, the original jester outfit would have been best, though it may not have fit in too well with the overall aesthetic of the team.

Personally, I have no qualms with the new costume. The problem is with the fact that there's been some pretty clear sexism in the comic book industry that still exists today, with many female characters serving more as eye candy than as genuine heroes, villains, or simply well-rounded, multi-dimensional characters. It's pretty evident that the creative team behind Suicide Squad wanted Harley to serve as eye candy in addition to her other purposes in the film, and clearly that's where the problem lies. The costume given to Harley in the movie was obviously not given to her because it's so practical.  

Harley has always been a sexual character - even in her origin story, Mad Love, she proves to be less than subtle with her innuendo. At the same time, however, just because she's sexual (like most other human beings), doesn't mean she was created to be objectified.

It's exciting to hear that the possibility for a costume change in the sequel does exist, though. Even though not everyone has agreed with their costume designs, most of them do seem tasteful, and many of them (in the cases of Deadshot, El Diablo, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, Katana, and even to some extent, Harley) show reverence and inspiration to certain designs used in the comics. Getting a change-up between movies would be fun and refreshing, and it would also give fans something to look forward to from one film to the next.  

Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5th, 2016.
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Comic Book Movies
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Suicide Squad

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