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is cara delevigne's skimpy 'suicide squad' costume sexist?

Margot Robbie shuts down haters of her Harley Quinn hot pants, but fans are still less than thrilled about Enchantress' chain mail bikini.

by Hannah Ongley
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01 May 2016, 11:45pm

Cara Delevingne's Suicide Squad makeover — or makeunder — could be described as many things. "Sexy" isn't the first that comes to mind, at least not in a Victoria's Secret type of way. But some OG fans of DC Comics' antihero team are unhappy about the costumes worn by Delevingne's Enchantress and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, believing they overly sexualize the film's female characters. 

This week Robbie shut down Quinn's costume haters via a charismatic profile in the New York Times. Her character is "wearing hot pants because they're sparkly and fun," she said, not because "she wanted guys to look at her ass." The hot pants only become problematic for Robbie when she's not in character. "As Margot, no, I don't like wearing that," she added. "I'm eating burgers at lunchtime, and then you go do a scene where you're hosed down and soaking wet in a white T-shirt, it's so clingy and you're self-conscious about it." Director David Ayer chimed in to point out, "I didn't think denim overalls would be appropriate for that character" and that Ms. Robbie understood "that's part of the iconography." And as fans pointed out on Twitter, Quinn is a (multi-faceted) sexual character. 

It's more difficult to make the "iconography" argument for Delevingne's Enchantress. The backlash originally mounted after a magazine cover surfaced depicting the rising actress wearing a haunting expression and a skimpy chain mail bikini. In the original comic, the supervillain wears a green dress — a very low-cut one, mind you — with a witch hat and cloak. None of those things can be seen on Delevingne. "And it's not slut-shaming to hate Enchantress' ugly bikini," wrote one fan on Twitter. "It isn't reflective of the character. There's no 'iconic tradition' like Sonja." (Red Sonja is a Marvel Comics character who actually does wear a chain mail bikini in the books series.)  

Given Delevingne's uncanny ability to look attractive while wearing a pizza onesie, it would be hard to make her look bad. Not that she wouldn't have been up for the challenge. Delevingne has been openly critical of those who didn't take her movie roles seriously, last year (circa Paper Towns) blessing us with one of the most awkward interviews in Hollywood history when it was suggested she might not have read the book. She might be a model, but she's not one to accept anything that's handed to her — be it a snarky remark or a chain mail swimsuit.

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Text Hannah Ongley