By Cassandra Yany
Harry Styles made history Friday as the first male to grace the cover of US Vogue. Styles defies gender stereotypes in the fashion magazine, which has become a point of controversy on social media in the days following its reveal.
On the cover of the December issue, Styles is photographed in a field wearing a pale blue, lace Gucci dress. He is featured wearing different skirts a number of times throughout the spread.
“Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with,” Styles says in the cover story. “What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away. When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play. I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing.”
While most fans took to social media to praise the artist for his redefinition of gender norms in the shoot, some public figures shared their distaste for the photoshoot and Styles’ stereotypically feminine attire.
Coservative author and political activist Candace Owens quote-tweeted Vogue’s post promoting the cover story, saying “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.”
Styles’ supporters quickly called out Candace, posting TikTok videos of her wearing a pantsuit, citing her hypocrisy. Actress and filmmaker Olivia Wilde responded to Owens’ tweet with a simple, “You’re pathetic.” Styles is set to star in Wilde’s upcoming film Don’t Worry Darling.
Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro had a similar reaction to that of Owens, saying “Outward indicators of masculinity and femininity exist in nearly every human culture. Boys are taught to be more masculine in nearly every human culture because the role of men is not always the same as the role of women. The Left knows this, of course. The POINT of style doing this photo shoot is to feminize masculinity.”
One of the most recent celebrities to jump to Harry’s defense has been internet personality Logan Paul. On the latest episode of his podcast “Impaulsive,” Paul showed his respect for Styles in his effort to challenge social norms. When his co-hosts questioned his stance on the issue and the “manliness” of the dress, Paul said “What is manly to you? What does it mean? Is manly like being comfortable in your own skin and being comfortable with who you are, regardless of what people think about what you’re wearing?”
On social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok, it is evident that more users praise Styles than criticize him for his bold statement in the cover. Many argue that fashion choices do not define a person’s identity. Despite his detractors, Styles remains one of the biggest names in pop culture and it doesn’t look like his widespread admiration is going anywhere with his first solo single “Sign of the Times” just re-entering the Top 100 US chart on iTunes.