General perception orders women to be slim, sexually attractive while it demands from men to be muscular and violent. In today’s world, even the toys become what this perception dictates. Once a young, cute girl became a teenage who wears jewelery and carries her small purse. Producers accentuate physical beauty of the characters they create in order to increase the demand for their item.
This is true for comic book characters too. Even though they were created as extremes (think about Batman or Superman, their muscles are exaggerated in order to increase their “manliness”), today, they are becoming even more extreme. Harley Quinn is a nice example for that. It was introduced in 1992 as a sidekick for Joker. She was a psychiatrist in Arkham Asylum, but eventually she fell in love with Joker and became his partner. However, her importance comes from her appearance.
This illustration was one of the first ones of Harley Quinn. It is true that she was portrayed according to the general perception of society about women. She is slim, she has a cute smile (even though this smile makes her look like a pervert) and she is attractive in a way.
In Batman: Arkham City game, this is how Harley Quinn is portrayed. Although her body is less slim than the previous one, this change made her more realistic and more sexy. Instead of a costume that covers all of her body, producers chose to put a different costume which exposes her body on her. They also got rid of the mask. In lieu of mask, there is make up on her face. It is again to increase her sex appeal.
She has guns in her hand and this is against general view about women. It is accepted that women should be more passive, they should accept what men say. This deviation plays a different role in Harley Quinn, it supports her psychotic nature. She lost her smile, which made her kind of cute, and acquired a new threatening expression. This change made her look more dangerous.
In short, even a villain, who is meant to be something negative, can be sexually appealing. Even though Harley Quinn wasn’t completely against the norms about women’s appereance at the time when she was introduced, in the end, she became “hotter and hotter” like many other toys and characters.