The task of writing the Joker has changed hands dozens of times over the past seventy years, and with each new creative team comes a different take on the clown's characterization, even if that take is only slightly altered from its predecessor. Since his creation, the Joker has been a murderous psychopath, a harmless prankster, and even a scowling, humorless villain. But one thing about the Joker has always remained consistent: he has no respect for boundaries, be it for major legal restrictions such as murder and reckless endangerment, or for far more harmless activities such as ignoring culturally-based gender binaries.
The most well-known instance of the Joker's cross-dressing was provided in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, in which the Joker goes "in incognito" as a redheaded nurse in Gotham General Hospital:
|Redefining "fire crotch."|
|Yes, I know. That's the joke.|
|Well, that's subtle.|
As Grant Morrison explained in the 15th anniversary annotated script: "...The powers that be didn't go for my take on the Joker's fashion sense. The original first draft is quoted as: "The main doors of the Asylum are open and the Joker stands on the threshold, posed enticingly, like a calendar cutie. He is dressed as "Madonna," in a black basque, seamed tights and lace-up stiletto boots (From "Open Your Heart" video)...Pale and emaciated, he should look simply grotesque but standing there, hand on out-thrust hip, he projects an absolute confidence that confers upon him a bizarre kind of attractiveness and sexuality. It is the attraction of the perverse and the forbidden. The Joker personifies the irrational dark side of us all." He appears as 'Madonna' in yet another allusion to our recurring ('Mother') theme. Also, and more simply, because she has become an instantly recognizable cultural icon of the type which the Joker loves to mock."
The idea was nixed - likewise, the suggestion that the Joker have a beard to symbolize "vagina dentata" never went through - but that didn't stop the clown from crossing as many lines as possible while dressed in traditionally male clothing.
|"Loosen up, tight ass!"|
|Where do they even make wigs like that?|
This is why you never leave your luggage unattended.
|That sure looks practical for a life of crime.|
|Robin, the granddaughter Alfred never had.|
|Putting on a mustache is not a disguise, Bruce.|
|Here comes the bride!|
|Alfred has had way too much practice at this.|
|I question your choice in wigs, Bruce.|