Movies, Pop Culture

Harley Quinn and The Joker shouldn’t be your #RelationshipGoals

So the next time anyone thinks of posting an Instagram picture with the couple or tweeting out how perfect they are with #relationshipgoals, they should probably think twice.

Warning: This post contains spoilers about Suicide Squad.


Despite the criticisms, Suicide Squad, the kick-ass movie about bad people fighting even worse people has had a successful release and fans everywhere are becoming obsessed. However, there’s a couple in the movie that fans cannot get enough of and have been begging for a movie just highlighting these unique, crazy villains: The Joker and Harley Quinn.

As far as acting goes, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie went above and beyond bringing their much loved (or hated) characters to life, which is one of the major reasons why the couple got so much attention, along with twisted relationship between them that the comic book fans are all too familiar with.

Harley Quinn and The Joker’s relationship in the new Suicide Squad movie is being romanticized and idealized by fans everywhere, even though it’s the most toxic and abusive relationship I’ve seen. Is it because they look good together? Or because it’s so cool and edgy to be in such a dangerous relationship? Or do they actually believe that the ultimate DC Comics super villain has a soft spot for Harley?

Harley Quinn has always been a character favourite due to her high spirits and vibrant character but her existence itself is reliant on the man she’s in a relationship with, who tortured and tormented her, manipulating her into this so-called “perfect relationship.”

When The Joker is being treated by Dr. Harleen Quinzel in the Arkham Asylum, he soon sees an opportunity when he realizes that his doctor is starting to develop feelings for him and he does what he’s best at. He manipulates her into falling for him even harder than she could ever imagine, until she’d do anything for him: yes, even getting him a machine gun so he could escape.

After escaping he tortures her into insanity, until she’s a completely new person known as Harley Quinn. I think Harley Quinn is a character with a very sad and horrifying past, someone who was manipulated by a man she thought she loved, and believed he loved her back. However, to him she always was and still is his possession and his brainwashed accomplice. If you don’t think she’s brainwashed, I’d recommend watching the scene where she willingly jumps into the chemicals for him. In it, he has to think and hesitate about whether he will actually jump in after her to save her, after growling in annoyance.

What’s shocking is that people are overlooking how much he’s ruined her because they’re both super villains. Harley Quinn isn’t a superhero but she didn’t become the way she is on her own either, she’s a result of The Joker’s manipulation, his possession. It’s everything that a healthy relationship should not be and it’s frustrating to see people put them up on a pedestal. Even Margot Robbie, the actress who plays Harley Quinn in the movie said in an interview with The Washington Post, “fans seem to really love that about her, that she has this complete devotion to a guy that treats her badly.”  

[bctt tweet=”They made it clear she was still dependent and waiting her knight in shining armor. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Having the “complete devotion to a guy that treats her badly,” sounds a hell of a lot like a red flag and definitely an abusive relationship, so why would fans or any person for the matter love that about the couple?

[bctt tweet=”So why would fans or any person for the matter love that about the couple?” username=”wearethetempest”]

This is having social consequences of people romanticizing a highly abusive relationship that many others have suffered through and victims will find all too familiar. It’s important to acknowledge the abuse Harley is put through and understand why her character is flawed in the way it is. I’m also tired of people thinking of them as some kind of awesome relationship goals when they’re anything but.

This couple is all too similar to any abusive relationship story, where someone is manipulated and puts up with all the abuse because they think that it is love, that the person will change.

One of the most impactful scenes in the movie was when the Enchantress showed that Harley’s biggest desire was to have a picture perfect family with The Joker, not a ride or die adventure with a green haired freak.  

Another huge issue is how this movie tried to avoid and not address the abuse, making it easier for viewers to romanticize it, even though her dependency and obsession was still quite clear. There’s even a deleted scene in which The Joker hits Harley Quinn and then sweet talks her so that she doesn’t think of it as abuse. There were also reports that early on in the film, The Joker pushed Harley Quinn out of the helicopter to kill her and then the helicopter also gets shot down, however it was reworked later and shown that he pushes her to save her life instead, literally removing evidence of their abusive relationship.

[bctt tweet=”They never showed Harley Quinn standing up to the Joker.” username=”wearethetempest”]

It would make sense if the reasoning for that was to paint Harley Quinn as a stronger character instead of someone dependent on The Joker but that wasn’t a case, they just avoided controversy. They made it clear she was still dependent and waiting her knight in shining armor. They never showed Harley Quinn standing up to The Joker, and questioning the crazy things he made her do. Harley Quinn shone and was an amazing character every time she wasn’t around The Joker, when she could be witty, funny, and loyal to her squad and not under the Joker’s control.

So the next time anyone thinks of posting an Instagram picture with the couple or tweeting out how perfect they are with #relationshipgoals, they should probably think twice.

  • Maha Syeda

    Maha Syeda is a journalism student at Ryerson University. She's passionate about writing on several different topics, whether it’s food, fashion, or politics. She's also a shopaholic and a huge foodie. When she's not writing, she's often binge watching Korean dramas or jamming to her hip-hop playlist.