Gender Pop

Harry Styles: One of This Generations Most Daring Fashion Icons

The dust has undoubtedly settled since the internet for some reason collectively shit itself and decided to be outraged by the fact that Harry Styles, a grown man mind you, decided to wear a dress for his Vogue cover. So why is the world so offended? Why do we care what people wear in 2020?

Harry Styles on Vogue
Image Source: WION

It is resoundingly clear that men with fragile masculinity issues are fashionistas in disguise and have incomparable knowledge when it comes to the topic of fashion. So when Ben Shapiro, a man who has donned the same black suit for the past 5 years tweets: “anyone who pretends this is not a referendum on masculinity for men to don floofy dresses is treating you as a full-on idiot”. Then there is obviously some logic to what he is saying right?

If Ben Sharpiro chiming in on Harry Styles fashion choices was not weird enough, Candace Owens also chimed in. Tweeting to “Bring back manly men”. I will not sit here and lie by saying I would wear a dress as well because it is manly. However, there is nothing more manly than making a choice on your own terms. Harry Styles made the choice on his own accord, and he should be applauded. Even if Ben Shapiro and Candace Owen do not think it, putting on a dress for a Vogue cover as a man takes serious balls.

Music icons have always blurred the lines of gender norms when it comes to fashion. Prince and David Bowie in their primes were fashion and sex icons. They confidently rocked high heeled boots and colourful jumpsuits. Today’s musicians continue the trend with Kanye West in 2011 wearing a long-sleeved women’s shirt designed by Celine to headline Coachella 2011. Similarly in 2012 West rocked a Givenchy leather skirt/kilt for the Watch The Throne Tour with Jay Z.

Pop stars ignoring gender norms in regards to fashion is what makes their unique looks so progressive. So why is Harry Styles being criticised so much for doing what pop stars have been doing for decades?

We spoke to some Harry Styles fans to get a better understanding as to why the world is so offended by his fashion choices as of late. Renee Blakemore, a 23-year-old customer service/sales representative highlighted that: “conservatives like Candace Owens who are judgemental or fearful of Harry Styles fashion choices are uncomfortable with the erosion of the rigid boundaries of what society is. They like structure, hierarchy and categorisation. He is openly flouting gender fashion norms and I’m here for it”.

Harry Styles outfit
Image Source: The Guardian

Personal Assistant, One Direction superfan and Harry Styles faithful, 23-year-old Gemma Fsadni felt that: “some people are offended as they struggle with their own insecurities, exploring their own sexuality and fashion. Fashion in my opinion isn’t feminine or masculine, it is ever-evolving. Those who have an issue with what someone wears, it is a reflection of themselves”.

Fellow fashion icon who blurs the lines of gender-based fashion, Alex Rowe believes that: “the world is so offended by Harry due to him breaking the social norms of how a male should be perceived. People like labels and feel uncomfortable when they are challenged, I think it’s a very positive thing that these conversations are being had. Nothing we have achieved today in terms of progression has come easy, we need to keep fighting and challenge the social norms!”

So we have heard what fans have to say, but what is the psychology behind it all? I would group this collective outrage to the psychology of envy. Psychology professor Neel Burton from Green Temple College, a graduate community at Oxford University wrote in a piece for the publication Psychology Today: “To feel envy, we must be confronted with a person (or persons) with something—a possession, quality, or achievement that has eluded us”.

In the case of Harry Styles he was apart of one of the biggest boy bands on the planet with One Direction. As we all know with boy bands freedom of expression is not really an option and all members of said boy band are pretty much the clone of the previous member.

Since One Direction went on hiatus in 2016 Harry has become what fans believe to be the type of performer he wants to be. This level of freedom is obviously causing not just envy but obviously brain aneurysms for members of society who cannot just be happy that a young man has found his place in life and is comfortable in his own skin.

Harry’s new persona is a decision he made on his own accord. The sector of society that is offended such as Ben Sharpiro and Candace Owens, are entitled to their opinions. However, they are in no position to discriminate against Styles. An artist who at 26 is the only man in history to appear solo on the cover of Vogue and has gone multi-platinum so many times it’s ridiculous.

So before you shame Harry Styles for not being your idea of a stereotypical manly man. At least consider that the decisions he has made to wear women’s clothing are his decision. As I stated early, there is nothing more manly than making a choice on your own terms.




Harry at the Met Gala 2019
Image Source: Wall Street Journal.  

Feature Image Source: Wikipedia