With all that was right and wrong with the recently released Suicide Squad, it's got me thinking about why other people like the relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker. Almost immediately after I watched it, I started seeing friends and family post the familiar memes.
I can understand why guys might want their own Harley Quinn. That sort of god-worshipping loyalty would be a heady fantasy. A sexy toy that they can toss aside when they're done, and pick back up anytime they're bored or feeling needy. Ladies, though...everything they see in the J man is everything they should avoid...should run from. I have compiled a list of reasons you shouldn't romanticize the Harley and Joker duo.
The relationship is abusive. It's not a BDSM give and take...it is straight up abuse. Harley is suppressed, domineered, and constantly physically assaulted.
The Joker is more interested in Batman. He puts his nemesis before all else, including Harley Quinn. Any time his mind is on "the bat", her advances and attempts to console him are slapped aside--quite literally, most times. And the more he ignores her, the harder she tries to get the attention she craves....after all, we want most what we cannot have.
He knows she's crazy about him, and uses that to his every advantage. Abusers know how to push buttons...not just the ones that get you all riled up, but also the ones that flip on delusions of romance, love, and adoration.
He also controls her with guilt. This is a very common tool that abusers use to exploit their victims. If someone feels like everything that goes wrong is their fault, they will tend do whatever they can to make up for it and they will feel powerless and hopeless.
Even when she does something right, it's wrong.
Despite her seeming strength, Harley's mental and emotional state is wholly dependant on The Joker. Harley knows their relationship is toxic, but all it takes is the slightest acknowledgement or display of affection from The Joker to completely obliterate any thoughts of ending the relationship. This sort of covert emotional manipulation is why she stays with him, despite his abuses.
She is just as disposable as any of his henchmen, she just happens to be his favourite toy in the toybox. He keeps her around because she feeds his ego.
Harley believes the only person who can love her is someone as messed up as her, but The Joker is incapable of love.
When she's away from him for any length of time, she regains her sense of self and regains perspective. But because they do have such a toxic relationship, it doesn't take much effort for The Joker to regain control over Harley. So it goes with addiction. Complacency with what's familiar (no matter how bad it is) can be as anchoring as fear.
So, ask yourself...is that really what you want in a relationship?