Brandy Kuhn
October 20, 2015 5:17 pm

When I first heard about the Suicide Squad movie, I was ecstatic. Yes, all of the characters set to be featured in the film are fabulous and fearsome and wonderfully weird, but one stands out to me above the rest: Harley Quinn. She’s one of my favorite comic book characters and I was delighted to learn that she was making the leap to the big screen. The release date for Suicide Squad is still woefully far away (August 2016, for those of you keeping track like me), but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start celebrating the awesomeness that is Harley Quinn. In the trailer for the movie, Harley retires her usual black and red ensemble, but we can still recognize the childish criminal by all of her young and delightfully girly habits.

Yes, she’s young and yes, she’s girly, but Harley is not a character to be written off or dismissed. She’s as dark and twisted as she is young and girl and I think that there is a lot to learn from such a complex and well-written female character. For those of you who haven’t followed her run in the DC comics, let’s just say her arc has been something of a rollercoaster. So, in honor of Harley, her are four lessons she’s taught me that I think every teen, whether they ever pick up a comic book or see a superhero movie or not, could benefit from.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Whether it’s in the movie trailer or comic books, Harley Quinn is constantly portrayed with young, almost childish looks and a high-pitched, girly voice. Most of the time, people think that this somehow hinders her capability as a villain, but she uses it to her advantage and always proves them wrong. After all, she is the character that came closest to killing Batman (no small feat, if you know anything about the Dark Knight). Plus, Harley’s weapon of choice is a giant hammer that weighs several times her own body weight (talk about strength — both the inner and outer varieties!).

You don’t always have to be 100% okay.

Harley Quinn is a character who has suffered emotional abuse from both her father and her long-time love interest, The Joker. She relapses constantly and, since she is a villain, does things she greatly regrets later on. Harley Quinn is a deeply-flawed (but also incredibly-interesting) character and she’s almost never 100% okay. But, through all of her issues, she remains a fascinating character and a complex, interesting villain. I’m not saying Harley is a role model for how to live life, but it’s important to see the connection between Harley’s mistakes and our own; we are complex creatures and sometimes we do things we aren’t proud of and make decisions we wish we could take back, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep going and trying to be better. Every human is valid and valuable, and it’s always okay to feel down sometimes.

Being childish can help keep you positive.

Our beloved villain acts like a tween in her most mature moments and like a child the rest of the time. Harley doesn’t take the world too seriously and even through all of her trauma (and there’s been a lot of it), her childlike nature stays in tact. This helps her keep her positive-though-slightly-insane outlook on life, and I think everyone can benefit from seeing things from a slightly-brighter perspective. So, embrace your inner child guys; it works for Harley!

Bisexuality is valid.

Harley Quinn has been romantically involved with male villains like The Joker and Deadshot, but she started paying more attention, romantically-speaking, to girls as the comics went on. Nowadays, she is even involved with Poison Ivy and written obviously as bisexual. Just because her decision to explore the female side of bisexuality more stemmed from her history of abuse at the hands of men, it doesn’t make it any less valid — and the same is true for all sexualities. Whether something triggered a person to explore other sides of their sexuality, or it was something they always knew was true about themselves, all sexualities are valid. Harley Quinn helps remind the world that bisexuality is real and valid.

Overall, Harley Quinn is definitely not a character to be pushed aside, and her complex mentality only adds to her allure. Whether in Suicide Squad or in the comics, Harley is a formidable villain who pulls strength from the many ups and downs she’s experienced in life. She has taught me to embrace being underestimated, kicked down, and ridiculed since, just like her, we can all get back up and prove people wrong. Villainous felonies aside, Harley is an incredibly inspiring individual and I know I’ve learned a lot from her.

(Image via Warner Bros.)

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