Vogue released its December 2020 cover, and it got a lot of support and backlash due to it featuring their first solo male cover star – Harry Styles. Not only that, but Styles was wearing a dress and a blazer in the shoot, which caused some controversy regarding his more feminine clothing choices.
Harry has been open in the past about not believing in or following traditional gender norms in terms of things like clothing. In his Vogue article he said “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.”
“Anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself. There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never really thought too much about what it means – it just becomes this extended part of creating something.”
Styles also praised his stylist Harry Lambert for encouraging his fluid style and different fashion choices, saying “He just has fun with clothing, and that’s kind of where I’ve got it from. He doesn’t take it too seriously, which means I don’t take it too seriously.”
However, while the cover was seen as a positive step towards inclusivity for Vogue, and is helping challenging stereotypical gender norms, Styles has also received a lot of unnecessary backlash following the release of the issue. Many people commented to express their distaste at something as simple as a man in a dress, including a tweet from American conservative author and commentator Candace Owens.
She retweeted Vogue’s cover featuring Styles with the caption “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.”
Many fans and celebrities have tweeted out their support for Styles and disagreement with Owens, including outspoken feminist and activist Jameela Jamil, who bashed Owens and others who are complaining as “insecure, toxic, women-hating, homophobic dickheads”.
See the tweet here – https://twitter.com/jameelajamil/status/1328352577579147267?s=21
And to top it all off, Styles himself seemingly responded to Owens’ tweet. On the 2nd of December, he posted a photo to his instagram of him in a baby blue frilled blazer eating a banana, with the caption “Bring back manly men.” The post got millions of likes and thousands of supporting comments, even from the official Facebook account, MTV, gay fashion icon Tan France, his stylist Harry Lambert and Marc Jacobs.
See the post here – https://www.instagram.com/p/CITD0senEDT/?igshid=xjlyci1xl8u6
This just goes to show how today’s society still has a way to go in terms of breaking down traditional gender norms and stereotypes, even in things as simple as fashion.