Suicide Squad Director Responds to Criticism of Harley Quinn Being Over-Sexualized

Suicide Squad director David Ayer has come under a lot of fire since the 2016 movie was released. The movie was not well-received by critics or audiences, earning a 27% critics score and 58% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. One major complaint about the movie was treatment of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) who many believe was oversexualized for the purpose of satisfying the male gaze. Last month, Ayer surprised fans by fielded some criticism about how he used Harley Quinn in the movie and gave a surprising apology. However, people are still coming after him on social media, forcing him to respond to the criticism once again.

"Wonder if @DavidAyerMovies will have the women in the movie in super booty shorts and give us gratuitous ass and tit shots?," @filmtargaryen wrote. "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," Ayer replied. "Dunno mate you did it in Suicide Squad so I thought I'd ask. Good for you that you learned though," @filmtargaryen added. "What have I learned? Should male 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! 😳," Ayer replied. You an check out the tweets below:

While there's no denying that Harley Quinn was catered to male audiences in Suicide Squad, the character was recently rescued by director Cathy Yan in Birds of Prey. In fact, Yan recently spoke about the movie and "rejecting the male gaze" in an interview with the New York Times. The article mentions the scene that features Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) forcing a woman in his club to get on a table and strip. Here's what Yan had to say about the moment:

"We were pretty conscious not to muddy what the scene was meant to be about, by not offering anything remotely vulnerable or titillating," she explained. "There are choices like that which felt very deliberate; we were making sure we were protecting our female actors, even in a scene that was about humiliation." She added that other choices were more intuitive, saying, "It was less, 'I'm going to unpack and reject the male gaze of every director who's come before me' and more of an unconscious, innate reaction about what feels right." It was important to Yan to keep the camera on her actors' faces. "That's where you tell the story," Yan said. "'Look up here! I'm talking to you!'"


Birds of Prey is currently available to watch on VOD.