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Rob Liefeld’s Thoughts on Harley Quinn’s Costumes Weren’t Necessary or Interesting

Margot Robbie is Harley Quinn

(Warner Bros.)

Comic book writer and artist Rob Liefeld is a controversial figure for his art style and writing but is still responsible for co-creating Cable and Deadpool, two of the most iconic modern X-Men characters, as well as his work on X-Force and The New Mutants, which is why him throwing his opinion into sexy costume discourse concerning Harley Quinn is worth looking at.

Liefeld draws a comparison between one photo of Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry and Harley Quinn’s costume in Suicide Squad, saying that “punk rock suits her,” seemingly throwing shade at the way Harley is dressed in Birds of Prey, which has remained an annoyingly loud conversation online. Now, for those that are not aware, the way in which Liefeld draws people has always been a subject of debate, but his drawings of women especially, due to them looking like … well, you can decide for yourself.


Rob Liefeld/Image Comics

My heart weeps for their vaginas.

I saw Suicide Squad in theaters with my then-boyfriend, and I remember our very different reactions to the Harley Quinn costume. He did think it was sexy because, let’s be clear, it is framed that way. Harley puts on the costume after stripping down to her underwear in front of a bunch of guys. There are multiple scenes of her filmed butt-first and bending over in those “shorts.”

All I could think of is how painful her cameltoe must have been and how bad of a wedgie she was going to have. The outfit is sexy because of the gaze and because Margot Robbie is perfect-looking and can therefore pull off anything. But as a woman who is attracted to other women, it just comes off as … boring.

It’s a boring outfit that doesn’t even understand the body type of its wearer. Nothing flatters Harley/Margot drawing attention to her butt, which isn’t even her best feature! Her legs and torso are the money-makers, people. Many have brought to attention that her crop top, high-waisted shorts combo in Birds of Prey is actually showing less skin than her outfit in Suicide Squad, but because the camera isn’t lecherously highlighting her body at every turn, it is begin ignored.

With the comparison to Debbie Harry, there is no denying that it’s an iconic look, but the big difference is that Debbie Harry is wearing that during a photo shoot. She’s not going straight from this look to fight and do acrobatic flips in high-heeled boots. Plus, as people on Twitter have pointed out, there are plenty of looks in Birds of Prey that both feel very Harley and could be seen as Debbie Harry-inspired, that aren’t her in just literally a t-shirt and underwear.

Video Essayist Renegade Cut covered this kind of discourse, framing it around the conversation about Tiffa’s boobs in the Final Fantasy VII remake and how the core of all of this is about a loss of control by those who have long had institutional power. They see things like this as evidence of their power fading into a non-short-short-clad death rattle. It would be nice to think of these mentalities just belonging to a few loud fringe people, but Liefeld is a notable person in the industry, and when he lends his voice to bolster this backwards viewpoint, it doesn’t help anyone.

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.