Vogue’s interview and photoshoot, featuring Harry Styles, was recently released to the public. With an extreme international fanbase, the former One Direction band member had the internet in anticipation of the images that were going to be published. In true Harry Styles fashion, he had people in shock and in awe of what they saw. Styles’ Vogue interview includes photos of him proudly wearing various skirts, dresses, and a beautiful ball gown paired nicely with a blazer.
Before I go on to praise Harry for his fashion shoot, I feel the need to point something out. Styles is not the first male performer to begin this trend. Actors and singers such as Prince, RuPaul, Jaden Smith, David Bowie, and Freddie Mercury have been challenging ideologies about how society thinks men should dress and behave long before Styles. That said, I love that we can add Harry’s name to the list. He has always had a unique sense of fashion that is atypical for most men. However, he knocked the ball out of the park with this one, leaving nothing up to interpretation. His message was loud and clear: Harry Styles will not conform to gender norms.
Most people praised Harry for his Vogue shoot. They love a man who is comfortable in his own skin and does not care what other people think. Many fans also thanked him for contributing to the fight against toxic masculinity, a belief that men must be manly and show no weakness or sign of femininity. People often believe that it is just women who are harmed by the unhealthy ideology, but over the years, men have come out to prove otherwise. A man’s mental health is more likely to be ignored than a woman’s, leading to anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts because of toxic masculinity.
Harry’s photoshoot also brought out critics. There is a belief among people that celebrities vying for the dismantling of gender norms and roles are pushing an agenda. A pro-gay liberal agenda, where no one is subjecting anyone to traditional beliefs, turning men into women and women into men. It’s an odd belief, but there are more people out there than you think who have this mindset. Most of the time, one can assume they are bigots. Ben Shapiro and Candice Owens, public far-right and pro-Trump supporters, are just two examples.
After the release of Styles’ photoshoot, Owens went on a major Twitter rant about how harmful men wearing dresses is to society. She quoted the Vogue Twitter account, stating, “There is no society that can survive without strong men. The East knows this. In the west, the steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. It is an outright attack. Bring back manly men.” Owens made several tweets similar to this one, refusing to back down.
Shapiro came to her aid on Twitter after Owens received backlash from the Harry Styles fanbase. He tweeted, “This is perfectly obvious. Anyone who pretends that it is not a referendum on masculinity for men to don floofy dresses is treating you as a full-on idiot.” He then doubles down on his stance with a series of other tweets. Owens and Shapiro essentially represent a large portion of people who believe men partaking in “feminity” is hurtful to society.
Personally, I love Harry Styles’ photoshoot. It is fresh, fun, and exactly what we needed in 2020. Harry sporting fashionable clothing should not be a point of demise for you in a year of a deadly virus, unemployment, murder hornets, and the presidential election of a lifetime.