Dressing Little Girls Up As The Joker’s Girlfriend Is So Creepy

Dressing Little Girls Up As The Joker’s Girlfriend Is So Creepy

In the run-up to Halloween, I’ve seen really young girls dressed up as Harley Quinn pop up on social media. Confession: It grosses me out when I see it.

I get that Harley was the best part of the Suicide Squad movie and is on a lot of merchandise nowadays. And, like lots of superhero characters, she has facets that let different sorts of people love her for different reasons. But Harley Quinn is a character who’s all about dysfunction. She is what she is because of an abusive relationship with a messed-up killer clown.

When she was first introduced in Batman: The Animated Series, she was essentially a fanatically devoted gun moll. The character’s throwback performance and her Looney Tunes-style approach to violence won viewers over at first blush, and the troubled nature of psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel’s relationship with the Joker added unexpected depth to Harley’s development. She had smarts, quirk and layers, eventually becoming one of the most popular additions to Batman lore.

Even if you think of Harley as a symbol of survivor strength, she only gets there as a result of having gone through the hell of a romance with the Clown Prince of Crime. (In current DC Comics, she’s being played as a goofy, randy antihero.) The only version of Harley that doesn’t have that at its core is the all-ages DC Superhero Girls iteration.

But most of the kids I’ve seen dressed up as Harley aren’t done up as that version; they’re doing the Suicide Squad movie’s take on her. Granted, she looks cool, acts brash and kicks arse. Still, if a young kid starts asking questions about the character whose look she’s wearing – and, as a father of a kindergartener, I know that they will keep asking and asking – eventually you’re going to have to field questions that touch on the ickier parts of Harley’s history.

I’m not saying it’s impossible or inadvisable to sanitise Harley for younger minds. But, even if that does happen, the character’s history – especially as executed as in Suicide Squad – still makes her a bizarre costume choice for young kids.


    • The same reason we’ve been celebrating it for at least the 38 years I’ve been alive? Its the modern celebration of a traditional UK festival. Samhain. All Hallowed Saints Eve. Nothing new there.

      I think a better question is:

      Why do people seem to think every year that Halloween has never been celebrated in Australia previously?

      • I think the better question is “Why the hell are we celebrating the US take on Halloween in Australia in the first place?”

        To which the answer, from the perspective of the participant, is that it’s fun to dress up, and even better to get free lollies. Halloween is just a stepping stone to the true goal: the sugar high.

  • Kids will copy what’s popular. A few years ago it’s was the game version showing up all over the place. Now it’s Squads turn. Eventually we’ll see another version or a different character become popular and will be emulated/cosplayer as.

  • I had a girl in my year 4 class come in today with the tips of her pigtails blue and red from halloween where she dressed as Harley. wasn’t exactly pleased with that.

    • Erm your there teacher not there parent, don’t think you get that right to say you werent pleased by a kids choosen outfit, What’s unpleasing about it? She had bit hair dye left in from some fun she had ooooh big deal

      Ease up kids copy what’s popular, simple plus girls don’t get many story characters to dress up as, would ppl care if a year 4 kid turned up as Batman or spiderman or deadwood? Prob not

      • In most schools you’re not allowed to have your hair dyed unnatural colours. I can see why it would be a problem.

          • or turning LGBT or supporting same sex marriage!!!!! oh and they probably wont ever get a job now either, you know employment checks and all dyed blue and red tips in your hair at in primary school tsk tsk sorry jenny you cant be an auditor for KPMG now

  • i find it more annoying that some of my friends who have been in brutal relationships keep posting pictures of Harley and Mr J as the best relationship you could ever have. Needless to say these people dont know a thing about Harley and Joker and the one that post all their drama on facebook

  • There is a version of Harley that looks similar to the SS version but is actually from DC Super Hero Girls. This version is portayed as a superhero with no obvious backstory as the show is targeted at little kids. I would have no issue with little girls dressed as this version.

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