Birds Of Prey Smashed the Male Gaze In Contrast To Other Superhero Movies

  • AUTHOR: anam
  • POSTED ON: February 12, 2020

Harley Quinn’s spinoff has started a chatter on the internet on how the movie breaks all the stereotypes for women, portrayed in superhero movies. Joanna Robinson, a writer for Vanity Fair, was the first to point out the difference between Harley Quinn’s character portrayals in suicide squad versus in Birds of Prey. In a tweet, she stated, “I can’t always exactly explain the difference between the male and female gaze, but I do know it when I see it.”

Since the tweet went viral, fans from all over the world have been pointing out the differences observed in the movie.

The hair

Harley Quinn’s iconic ponytails were a little too big in Suicide Squad. When a man dresses a woman, the hair is kept at a longer length where it could be easily yanked at. The glorification of longer (more feminine hair) is evident in all superhero movies (Wonder Woman, Gamora, Supergirl, and Captain Marvel). Birds of Prey defies these stereotypes by giving Harley Quinn the hair that is comfortable and fun.

The clothes

If you compare the posters for both the Harley Quinn movies, the outfits visibly show the difference between the male and the female gaze. It’s pretty evident that Margot Robbie was forced to wear a padded bra when she played the character in Suicide Squad. In fact, the director of the movie, Cathy Yen, ensured that all actresses in the movies felt empowered by the outfits they wore during the film.

“It was so fun creating the costumes for them, too, because it was done in such a way where it was more like dress up,” she stated, “‘ This looks cute. This is fun. I like this. How do you feel in that? Are you comfortable? Do you feel good? Do you feel sexy? Do you feel empowered? Is this flattering on you?’”


Harley Quinn was pretty sexualized in the Suicide Squad. With scenes like licking the jail cells to stripping down in front of a male crowd, the essence of her personality was completely lost. Birds of Prey actually shows what Harley Quinn is doing instead of letting the camera focus on her buttocks.

Additionally, if a background for the character was not given in the Suicide Squad, no one would even know that Harley Quinn used to be a psychiatrist. In Birds of Prey, the character demonstrates her knowledge of the filed while simultaneously rebelling against it.

 “Psychologically speaking, vengeance rarely brings the catharsis we hope for.” – Harley Quinn

The concept of female friendships

Bird of Prey also breaks down all stereotypes concerning female friendships. Being written and directed by women, the movie is able to convey exactly what female friendships look like. Margot Robbie was the first to pitch the idea of showing a real female friendship on-screen.

The actress stated, “It’s so ridiculous that there’s this idea that there’s this competition, or judgment, or whatever [between women]. Honestly, every time we step out to do press together, the first thing we see is like, ‘Hey. Love this. Love the pants. Love that. The necklace is cool.’ It’s just what you do. We wanted all those small things to be recreated wherever possible.”
 Birds of prey truly defines the female gaze, which is why it has already offended several (male) fans, which is just the usual entertainment news.  

Updated February 12, 2020
Back To Top