The Revolutionary Harry Styles

Harry Styles recently brought attention to the toxic masculinity and gender stereotypes many Americans still face.


photo via Vogue Magazine

Harry Styles was featured on the December issue of Vogue.. The ensuing vitriol online was unfortunately not surprising.

Chelsea Boyer, Social Media Editor

It is disheartening that a picture of a man in a dress could cause widespread commotion. But does it shock me that the picture leads to immense amounts of hate and disrespect? No, it does not, because so many of us have been taught that there is a women’s section and a men’s section in a clothing store with no in-between. We have been told that it is unacceptable for a man to wear a dress or a woman to wear a necktie.

If you’re unaware of the controversy surrounding a man wearing dresses, musician Harry Style recently broke the Internet when he appeared on the December issue of Vogue. It was the first time a man by himself had been on the cover of the magazine. Throughout the issue, Styles wore dresses, skirts, and other outfits traditionally associated with femininity, sparking online feuds over the singer’s masculinity.

Humans are not born hateful, so this mindset must be taught. Gender is a social construct, and sometimes others can grow uncomfortable or even lash out when their acquired notions of gender are challenged. 

It is nevertheless upsetting to see people have the audacity to say hateful things that stem purely from their own discomfort. 

Candace Owens, a conservative author and political activist, responded on Twitter to Style’s cover, “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.”

It disgusts me to read something like this.  Sadly, Owens must have forgotten that Eastern men have actually been wearing dresses for centuries. In fact, Jesus Christ himself wore one. Owens also says that we need to “bring manly men back,” apparently unwilling to accept that there are many different interpretations of masculinity.

Styles’s confidence should inspire us to be more open-minded and recognize that there are no rules when it comes to fashion and gender.”

Though the culture wars wage on, Styles himself appears quite at peace with himself.  After all, he has always enjoyed expressing himself through fashion.

“I think if you get something that you feel amazing in, it’s like a superhero outfit. Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with,” Styles told Vogue in the issue.

Fashion has long been viewed a form of self-expression. Like other forms of art, it does not subscribe to rigid rules.  In facts, it remains vibrant, dynamic, and relevant by breaking perceived rules.

In the article, Vogue included thoughts from fellow celebrities, such as Olivia Wilde, who supports Styles. 

“It’s pretty powerful and kind of extraordinary to see someone in his position redefining what it can mean to be a man with confidence,” Wilde stated.

At a time when the American Psychological Association feels the need to issue “detailed guidelines” to its clinicians who treat men and boys, the December cover of Vogue is exactly what we need. We need somebody like Harry Styles to redefine what a man can be. His confidence should inspire us to be more open-minded and recognize that there are no rules when it comes to fashion and gender.

Besides, if you do not like Styles’s sense of fashion, no one is forcing you to stare at it. But please stop imposing your heavy judgment and hate on a situation that does not affect you in the least.