DC comics asks readers to draw female character committing suicide. naked.
DC Comics just can’t seem to get enough negative press at the moment. First they make a decision not to allow Batwoman to marry her female partner, and then they announce their new competition. Not just any competition, mind you, but a competition to draw four panels featuring popular villain Harley Quinn preparing to commit suicide. Now this to me is quite tasteless in itself – after seeing the effects of a recent suicide on those around me, to either glorify it or turn it into something humorous is some pretty gross decision making on the part of DC Comics.
But don’t worry, I get it: Harley Quinn and the Joker are complicated characters. They are there to push the envelope yadayadayada [insert boring excuses that certainly don’t justify sensationalising suicide here].
But even putting that aside (a difficult thing to do), another issue I have with this competition is that they are also sexualising suicide. It isn’t the Joker wearing a swimsuit made of chicken to try and get alligators to eat him, and it certainly isn’t the Joker sitting naked in a bathtub with electrical appliances around him.
Think I’m joking? Just read the description of what they are asking for:
Harley sitting naked in a bathtub with toasters, blow dryers, blenders, appliances all dangling above the bathtub and she has a cord that will release them all. We are watching the moment before the inevitable death. Her expression is one of “oh well, guess that’s it for me” and she has resigned herself to the moment that is going to happen.
I know, I know, stop the presses; a comic that sexualises women – who would have thought? DC is well known for not only sexualising women, but also sexualising violence against the women in their comics. The fact that it seems to be an intrinsic part of the comic book industry doesn’t make it at all okay, but this time they have gone much too far. Not only are they treating women like sex objects, but they are now linking sex and suicide. Suicide is not erotic. A naked woman attempting self-harm should not be part of a comic book competition, and all it achieves is to show how little respect DC have for women, as well as for anyone who has ever been affected by suicide.
Fans are understandably furious, and hopefully the negative reaction DC Comics have received will be enough to make them reconsider this disgusting competition. Someone deciding to end their own life is heartbreaking. To use suicide as a ‘statement’, an attempt to be ‘edgy’, or just to boost sales if only for the shock factor is completely insensitive and tasteless.