Suicide Squad Director Responds To Claims Of Harley Being Over-Sexualized

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Nearly four years later and folks still get annoyed about Suicide Squad. Alongside its controversial depiction of the Joker and nonsensical plot, the sexualization of Harley Quinn is one of the most widely criticized elements. Interestingly, with the benefit of some hindsight, director David Ayer has been addressing fan complaints about his movie head-on of late, particularly its portrayal of Harley.

Ayer has previously apologized over accusations that Harley was over-sexualized in SS, admitting that he’s trying to increase his understanding of these matters all the time. About a month later, he’s been on the receiving end of more harsh words from users on Twitter and has had to defend himself and explain his viewpoint even further.

First of all, in response to a critical tweet, Ayer stated he “believe[s] in feminism,” saying:

Why would I do that? I know I’m a man, but I have a good soul and support and believe in feminism. It hurts to be attacked like this. I’m not your enemy. https://t.co/Hr6JVHJQjy

— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) May 7, 2020

When the same tweeter commented that they were glad he’s “learned” his lesson, however, Ayer questioned what it was he was supposed to have learned, asking fans to engage in a discussion about how to avoid such controversy in the future.

What have I learned? Should make directors only direct women in coveralls? What if an actor wants to depicted as a sexual being? Am I permitted to do that? What are the rules? Help! 😳 https://t.co/6UgWrC2II2

— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) May 7, 2020


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While it is true that costume designer Kate Hawley and star Margot Robbie herself collaborated on Harley’s revealing outfit in the movie, which is often what draws ire from critics, it has to be said that Ayer’s direction is what exacerbates the problem of the character being over-sexualized. Even if the point of her look was to show Harley’s attitude or self-confidence, the way she’s framed or shot in certain scenes is what’s got fans raging for so long.

Thankfully, Birds of Prey fixed this issue, with director Cathy Yan handling Harley in a completely different way. Robbie will next reprise her role as the Clown Princess of Crime in The Suicide Squad, so writer/director James Gunn is under some pressure to follow on from what Yan has done and not slip back into Ayer’s treatment of the character.