Harry Styles Breaks Boundaries as Vogue’s December Cover Star

Adam Bear, Staff Writer

On November 13, Vogue magazine released photos of British singer Harry Styles from the cover of Vogue’s upcoming December edition. Styles is Vogue’s first solo male cover star.

The photos feature Styles wearing various pieces of designer clothing, many of which are a gender-bending combination of women’s and menswear. On the cover, Styles is photographed wearing a lace Gucci dress paired with a double-breasted tuxedo jacket. 

While fashion like this is not unheard of, especially considering the impact of drag and queer fashion on modern style, it is quite remarkable that it is featured on the cover of fashion’s biggest magazine. Styles’ cover is an important step in fashion as it embraces the blurring of gender lines that is increasingly occurring in the world.

The cover has been met with some backlash, specifically from Candace Owens, a conservative activist and social media presence. Owens criticized Styles, claiming that it was the East’s plan to feminize Western men in order to harm Western society. In a controversial tweet, she said, “Bring back manly men.” She later clarified in an Instagram video that she believes society cannot survive without strong men and that Vogue and Hollywood are promoting an ideology that encourages men to be weak.

The idea that societies cannot survive when men wear dresses is absurd, however, considering men have worn dresses and other clothing now considered feminine for most of history. The modern idea of masculine dress originated in the 1790s, where the trend of men wearing straight-legged pants and a shirt emerged. Before then, menswear has included dresses, stockings, and skirts. In addition, high-heeled shoes, wigs, and makeup were all originally made for men. It is evident then, that the clothing one wears does not determine one’s strength, nor how well a society functions.

In addition, Owens discounts the many feats of women by implying that strength is derived from masculinity. If according to Owens, a man wearing feminine clothing makes him weak, then feminine people must also be weak. Once again, this is absurd. The idea that strength is somehow tied to masculinity is illogical, considering how women have been responsible for some of the greatest acts in history. 

Whether you look to the present or the past, women, many of whom wore dresses, have been strong, and have contributed to the preservation of society just as much as men have. If the way a piece of fabric is cut and sewn is enough to topple our society, then there is clearly a deeper issue in society than whether men are manly enough.