...and it’s Really Good for Society.
The British singer sends pop culture fans into a frenzy with his Vogue Cover.
Style's at the 2019 Met Gala
Since the beginning of civilization as we know it now, boys have been raised to fit the stereotype of a “manly” man. They have been subjected to mocking and ridicule if they don’t match the role of a traditional, straight, cis-gendered male. Few male public figures such as Prince, David Bowie, Elton John, and even Shakespeare, who was a prominent crossdresser, have defied societal expectations. Harry Styles, a former member of One Direction, is actively defying oppressive masculinity and gender norms through his fashion choices.
Harry Styles has made it his mission to prove that clothes are genderless, therefore encouraging other men to feel just as comfortable with embracing femininity and still being masculine. Styles has mentioned topics such as gendered fashion in many interviews stating things such as: "What's feminine and what's masculine, what men are wearing and what women are wearing — it's like there are no lines anymore.“ (2019, The Face) and "If I see a nice shirt and get told, 'But it's for ladies.' I think: 'Okaaaay? Doesn't make me want to wear it less though.' I think the moment you feel more comfortable with yourself, it all becomes a lot easier." (2019, The Guardian).
This has encouraged others to feel the freedom to wear whatever they feel comfortable in, whether it fits their gender stereotype, or not.
Another common misconception people make about men dressing in typically feminine clothing is that they are gay, or part of the LGBTQ+ by default. Styles talked about his personal situation with comments in an interview with The Guardian saying, “I want things to look a certain way. Not because it makes me look gay, or it makes me look straight, or it makes me look bisexual, but because I think it looks cool.”
Harry Styles made history in December of 2020, appearing as the first solo man to wear a dress for his Vogue cover shoot. The chosen piece from Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2020 collection became one of the most talked-about statements against gender norms of the past year.
Expectedly, this was a very controversial choice that received both praise and criticism in abundance. A prime example of hateful behaviour in response to Styles’ Vogue cover came from political commentator Candace Owens, who called on society to “bring back manly men.”
Harry Styles responded by posting a picture of himself eating a banana, an overtly sexual, glaring innuendo, styled in a suit with more feminine, delicate features, typically marketed at women. He captioned it “Bring back manly men,” unquestionably intending to mock Owen’s comment.
There'll always be sceptics and haters like Candace Owens, however, the future of gender fluidity is quickly moving in a positive direction, appearing bright, and full of acceptance. In my opinion, we will be fine as long as we have optimistic, well-dressed, respectful people such as Harry Styles leading the way.