Harry Styles Makes History

Isabella Henry ‘21

Harry Styles made history on November 13, 2020, when he was featured as the first male solo cover of Vogue magazine since its founding in 1892. Styles is known for his singing and songwriting skills as well as his colorful and gender-fluid style, breaking barriers as to what’s considered strictly men’s and strictly women’s clothing. In the recent December issue of Vogue, Styles sports many different outfits, though some found his attire to be offensive, as he wore what many consider traditionally-female attire. This includes a blue ruffled dress, a plaid skirt, and a tutu, among other pieces. Candace Owens, a conservative author, criticized Harry Styles, tweeting that this shoot was “an outright attack” and “the steady feminization of our men.” She also quipped that society needs to “bring back manly men”. 

Owens received support from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, but also received intense backlash. Fans and celebrities immediately came to Styles’ defense. Elijah Woods of Lord of the Rings stated that “masculinity alone does not make a man”, and Crazy Rich Asians star Harry Shum Jr. said that “being comfortable in your own skin as a man is manly. However that is expressed.” After Owens’ former comments against Styles, she continued to criticize his masculinity and choice of dress. However, Harry Styles fans would not allow such unnecessary anger. They flooded her Instagram and Twitter with comments about the way men dressed in the 1700s––wearing wigs and makeup. Many also outlined the hypocrisy of Candace’s Instagram posts that showed her wearing a full suit, something considered traditionally-masculine and that would have received similar backlash in less recent times. 

What we all can take from this is that, despite societal ‘rules’, clothes and appearance don’t define masculinity, it is the respect and confidence a male has for himself and with which he treats others. Styles demonstrated this attitude in his unbothered response to Candace and to others who felt entitled to force a dress code. In the words of the “unmasculine, three-time Grammy nominee, and recipient of 244 awards: “Treat people with kindness.