Still from: Batman The Animated Series.

This year’s most popular “couples” costume was undoubtedly Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn and Joker characters. As good (or bad) as the movie was, one thing people often talk about is how much they love Harley Quinn and the Joker, emphasizing on #RelationshipGoals. But is their relationship really one that we should want to copy?

Films often have a way of influencing the way that people think and behave. The most influential examples come from romantic films. Let’s be honest, many teenagers have certain expectations of their significant other, from the way they are asked out, to how their partner is “supposed” to treat them.  These expectations are often a result of the way relationships are presented in film. In the case of Suicide Squad, a relationship that is usually symbolic of domestic violence is presented in a way that manipulates viewers into believing they are an inspiring, romantic couple.

In the “traditional” relationship dynamic between DC’s Joker and Harley Quinn, the Joker repeatedly abuses, manipulates, and degrades Harley Quinn. Although physical abuse is not obvious in Suicide Squad, the unhealthy extremes that the two go through to be with each other, combined with the way that the Joker transformed Harley Quinn (don’t worry, no spoilers), illustrates some of the consequences of emotional and physical abuse.

Communication, mutual respect, and the absence of abuse (both emotional and physical) are the real relationship goals couples should aspire for. Instead of looking towards media to set the standards of what is expected in a relationship, couples should communicate with each other and seek out professional resources if there are questions or concerns about a relationship. Remember, life isn’t a Hollywood movie and we shouldn’t always try to recreate one.

For more information on healthy relationships, visit Planned Parenthood’s website.

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