On November 13th 2020, Harry Styles made history as the first male cover star of US Vogue. Amid this milestone, controversy rose due to his outfit. On the cover, Styles was pictured in a dress, which is traditionally considered “female” clothing. This generated hostile discussions about what a man should and shouldn’t wear, as well as debates about gender fluidity and non-binary expression.
Conservative author and political advocate Candace Owens tweeted about the Vogue cover, saying that society should “bring back manly men”. Fans of Styles used Tik Tok to express their discontent with a trend of men wearing feminine clothes. In a time with no social media, gender lines with clothing were unquestionably traditional. However, the lines between XX and XY clothing are more blurred than ever before.
On his December 2nd Instagram post, Styles posed for Variety in a pleated hem suit eating a banana with the caption: “bring back manly men”. What was supposed to be just a historic cover turned into a monumental discussion. Styles says, “I think what’s exciting about right now is you can wear what you like”. It has opened a door to a society where wearing feminine clothing as a male is no longer something to be bullied for. Styles’ cover with Vogue shows you don’t have to dress in traditional masculine clothes to be a “manly man”.