I recently dyed my hair to look like Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad. And since we just got back from San Diego Comic-Con, where I did a roller derby cosplay version of her, I wanted to talk a little bit about why.
Before Suicide Squad, I had never really experienced Harley in any of her other incarnations. (I know, what have I been doing with my life?!) I knew that she was a big fan favorite, purely based on how many people in Harley cosplay I would see at every Con ever, but I didn't fully understand why until I saw that movie. Let's face it folks, I thought she was amazing. I GET IT NOW.
Now, I know there is a lot of debate about idolizing her because of her complicated and abusive relationship with Joker. People are worried that girls will be willing to emulate that relationship because they think it is somehow romantic, and those are valid concerns. However, the reason I love her has nothing at all to do with Joker, or that relationship. The reason I love her is because she is fearless and terrifying, while also still being totally relatable and sort of weirdly innocent.
Most of these traits stem from the fact that she in clinically insane of course, but that doesn't change the fact that she can take care of herself! I on the other hand, am very bad at confrontation and have a hard time standing up for myself most of the time. So you can see where I might look up to a strong female character who is the opposite of that. I know there are other strong female characters out there to look up to (ones you might certainly want your children emulating more in real life), but there is just something about a woman character that is bat-shit crazy, intimidating, and unpredictable, that appeals to me because it is so far on the spectrum from where I am.
Obviously I won't be going around murdering people to be like her, but that's why fictional characters are important. Yes, if Harley Quinn was a real person I would not want to be like her. I wouldn't be thinking "Oh she just murdered all those guys, but at least she stands up for herself!" I would be thinking "Wow, that is terrible!" However, most of us can separate fiction from reality, and in so doing aspire to certain characteristics of a persona, not to fully be them in real life.
So now the truth. I didn't dye my hair like Harley Quinn so I could cosplay her, or because I think it looks cute (those are just added bonuses). I dyed my hair like her because in situations where I feel stressed, nervous, or condescended to, it reminds me to think WWHQD? I remember that I have Harley Quinn hair and I think "Harley wouldn't take this business lying down, she would kick ass!" and it makes me feel stronger.
And I would like to hope that this is what every little girl (and boy) that comes up to me and wants to take a photo with Harley Quinn, is feeling too.
So thanks HQ, for giving me a new hairstyle and the confidence that goes with it.