Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. Now, this not only includes fictional female characters in geeky media but creators as well. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.
DISCLAIMER: The following is laden with spoilers for DC animated series Harley Quinn. Just this version. Not the recent films or comic books. We love and support the animated Harley Quinn in this household.
Harleen Quinzel a.k.a. Harley Quinn (voiced by Kaley Cuoco) was brought up in a dysfunctional family. Her mother was an alcoholic and her father was a small-time criminal. Harley showed immense intellect throughout her formative years, albeit she was a bit unstable. She trained in gymnastics and almost qualified for the Olympics. After graduating from high school as valedictorian, she went on to become a psychiatrist. Harley started working at Arkham Asylum, wherein she took on the Joker (voiced by Alan Tudyk) as one of her patients.
Later, Harley became obsessed with the Joker and the latter escaped Arkham. He convinced her to jump into a vat of acid and take on the role of his sidekick. Fast forward to the present: Harley breaks up with the Joker and strikes out on her own in an effort to be the criminal “queenpin” of Gotham. She moves in with her best friend Poison Ivy (voiced by Lake Bell) and forms her own crew with Clayface (voiced by Tudyk), Dr. Psycho (voiced by Tony Hale) and King Shark (voiced by Ron Funches). Harley plans to join the Legion of Doom in her quest to be Gotham’s number one villain.
However, the Joker blows up the Legion of Doom. Thus, Harley decides to take out each major LoD member that’s still alive. She succeeds in slaughtering Penguin and Mr. Freeze. Additionally, she captures Riddler and entraps Bane in his own prison facility, which is located in a hole in the ground. Amid all this, Harley slowly rises to the top. Psycho double-crosses Harley but winds up imprisoned at Arkham. A romance soon blossoms between Harley and Ivy. By the Season Two finale of Harley Quinn, and after a lot of heel-digging, Harley and Ivy ride off into the sunset together. Well, after Harley crashes Ivy’s wedding to Kite Man.
The Real Deal:
You may be thinking: this is Harley Quinn. We’ve seen so many iterations of her. How is this version different? Animated Harley Quinn, in this show, breaks up with Joker. She decides to strike out solo and make a name for herself. That takes courage, especially for one so brainwashed as Harley. And there are plausible moments in the series wherein Harley is tempted to go back, but she fights against it. Harley is a fighter in every sense of the word. She’s also very smart and intuitive. Her friendship and burgeoning romance with Ivy prove that Harley is capable of pure loyalty without the threat of domestic abuse (i.e. Joker). She evolves over the course of the show. You root for her despite her “villain” status. There are times when even Harley displays that she has limits concerning how far she’ll go to stir up trouble.
Not to mention, Harley Quinn can admit when she’s wrong and takes risks. She faces challenges head-on and wholeheartedly embraces change. Her relationship with Ivy is uncharted territory for her, but she doesn’t deny herself the happiness she deserves.
Why She Matters:
Harley may be an on-the-rise criminal queenpin, but she’s not without her merits. She’s a great example of how people are capable of change. You’re never too old to grow as a person, and Harley is proof of that. Also: dream big! You want to join the Legion of Doom and subsequently take down every major villain in Gotham? Go for it! Follow your bliss! Additionally, Harley and Ivy’s relationship brings representation to the screen. Ergo — embrace who you are and love who you love. Accept your flaws and keeping forging ahead.
So, be like Harley Quinn. Accept change. Never deny yourself true happiness. Go for the gold, and that doesn’t just apply to gymnastics. Wield your intellect like a black and red baseball bat. Oh, and dump that pasty white dude with green hair. He’s only holding you back.