Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
by Garon Cockrell
Harley Quinn Suicide Drawing Contest: Really, DC Comics?
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By Garon Cockrell
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Sept. 8, 2013 5:06 p.m.

DC wants you to take your hand a drawing a naked Harley Quinn attempting suicide.
Can you get more stupid than that?
Ok. So there are a lot of instances where people (mostly women) get outraged by how women are portrayed in and I usually think it's silly, because story, free expression, if you don't like it draw your own comics/make your own movies, etc, etc.
But here's an example where I think folks have a point, and a strong one. From the DC Comics page for the contest:
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 thats it for me and she has resigned herself to the moment that is going to happen."
It's one thing for the writer and the artist of a comic to make a story choice and say "hey, here's a character that we want to show, that fits the story we're telling." But it's quite another to use what is arguably the most shocking (no pun intended) and controversial choice an author can make, namely a suicide, and make that a "contest".
And that would be bad enough.
But to make that suicide erotic, to focus it on a naked woman, no matter what the authors intended for the character, is just plain... wrong. This isn't necessary for comic art contest. This is a contest where they could literally choose any character doing any action. Even a contest to draw a death scene of any kind would be weird, but a line ought to be drawn somewhere, and this is definitely beyond that line in my view.
I mean, would they have a contest for drawing a rape scene?
What about child molestation?
Gas chambers at Auschwitz?
Execution by electrocution?
Any of these things is wrong, but one does have to wonder: why pick this particular topic?
And to be clear, I'm objecting because this is a contest. Artistic freedom does allow, in my view, depiction of whatever truth or nightmare or dream the artist wants to portray. But a contest - that's just a promotion in competitive guise. It's advertising. Advertising doesn't get the artistic leeway of other content, because it's looking to sell things. That's why you can't have cigarette ads on TV, but you can show someone smoking in the program.
Feminists, censorship aficionados, general complainers: this is the attack on women in media that you were looking for to make your point.
Have at it.

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