Why You Can’t Ignore Jarley

Jarley makes people uncomfortable.

I personally believe that this is why so many people prefer to ship DeadQuinn, Harley Pool, or Poison Quinn. But it remains a fact that you simply cannot ignore Harley Quinn x Joker.

The main reason being that it is the sum of Harley’s existence, at least up until the New 52. Even if love for the Joker is no longer her entire character, he is still her origin story. The Joker makes Harley Quinn Harley Quinn.

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Believe me, I get why it’s so uncomfortable for people. A relationship that is so dysfunctional and abusive isn’t healthy; people should want to get the hecky-heck out of there. And it’s true that a broken relationship should not be praised as admirable, a fitting goal, or a place that is okay to be.

Which is exactly why you can’t get rid of it.

How often do you see a broken relationship in the media? Relatively often, to be honest, but rarely to the depth that Jarley shows.

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I was lucky enough to grow up in a very safe home. However, my father’s job was one where he was constantly counseling other people who weren’t nearly so lucky. I saw many relationships of varying degrees of dysfunctional. While none were so completely villainous as Harley and the Joker’s, there are distinct parallels that you don’t see in other canon couples.

As an example, you can tell that both Harley Quinn and the Joker have some degree of fondness for one another. However, Harley Quinn’s attachment is considerably stronger. A common situation.

Both characters in the relationship are, in a way, abusive. Harley Quinn hits the Joker back, and even attempts to kill him on several occasions. Another common situation.

Harley Quinn continues to come back, and the Joker uses guilt as a way of convincing her to do so. A common situation.

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According to Harley’s first voice actress, Arleen Sorkin, “Everyone else sees the Joker laugh, only Harley has ever seen him cry. It’s the only reason she stays with him.” (Source) While the Joker isn’t Borderline Personality Disorder (He isn’t borderline anything, to be honest.), that act is one often used by a BPD person and deserves to be recognized by the media.

Ignoring Jarley can be defended with “I don’t want to support abusive relationships”. But by ignoring that the ship exists, you also ignore the fact that there are abusive relationships in the world. Situational diversity can be every bit as important as racial, sexual, or gender diversity.

The relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker doesn’t have to be praised in order to be acknowledged, and it doesn’t have to romanticize abusive relationships in order to raise awareness for them.

And that is why you can’t ignore Jarley.

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The relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker doesn’t have to be praised in order to be acknowledged, and it doesn’t have to romanticize abusive relationships in order to raise awareness for them.

 

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