March 30, 2021
By Valentina Novak
In Dec. of 2020, Harry Styles became the first male to be featured solo on the cover of Vogue. The cover features Styles wearing a long dress by Gucci’s Alessandro Michele along with a tuxedo blazer over it.
Styles is an English singer, songwriter and actor, most known for being in the band ‘One Direction.’ However, after their split, he continued his music career solo. In 2019, he came out with an album titled “Fine Line” which received a lot of positive feedback from the public.
The media looks up to Styles for promoting self-love and consistently showing care for his fans. He highlights the importance of being yourself, as well as wearing whatever you want regardless of social norms.
Sophomore Sania Mclntosh said Harry Styles being featured on the cover of Vogue was a step in the right direction.
“I do believe that Harry Styles was a great person to put on the front cover because people do know him for breaking gender norms,” McIntosh said.
She said it received a lot of attention because it is not common for men to express themselves like this.
“This blew up because seeing a man in a dress on the front cover for a high-end fashion magazine is groundbreaking,” Mclntosh said.
Mclntosh said seeing Harry Styles in the magazine was very new and eye-opening.
“When I first saw the cover I thought it was amazing to see femininity for men in American to be shown in a positive way,” Mclntosh said.
Although the cover received a lot of positive feedback, it also raised controversy by a large group of people who believe men should not wear dresses. Candance Owens, an American conservative author, was especially against Styles’ fashion choice.
On Nov. 14, 2020, Owens tweeted her opinion about Harry Styles being on the cover of Vogue. The tweet has since been deleted due to the amount of backlash she received after voicing her strong opinions on this situation.
“There are simply no right or wrong clothes for particular genders to wear. As Mr. Styles stated in his article, clothing is a means of self-expression.”
“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,” Owens said.
History teacher Mr. Spence said her opinion caused widespread outrage because she is setting a standard of opinion rather than facts.
“Ms. Owen’s opinion was so talked about because her opinion was not rooted in factual information, but rather rooted in her own biases. She made a sweeping generalization about how men are supposed to look and act. Many people questioned why the actions of Harry Styles were her concern,” Spence said.
He said there should not be labels on clothing, and people should be able to wear what they like freely.
“While Ms. Owen’s is entitled to her opinion, she is not entitled to tell others how to behave. There are simply no right or wrong clothes for particular genders to wear. As Mr. Styles stated in his article, clothing is a means of self-expression,” Spence said.
He said looking at the cover expresses the importance of having confidence within oneself.
“I personally found the cover empowering. To see a leading cultural figure feel confident enough to wear the clothes that he feels strong in is certainly inspiring. However, I will say that it is important for Mr. Styles to continue to display this confidence moving forward in his career,” Spence said.
Like Spence, Senior David Fonseca said it was exciting to see Styles express his true self in the magazine.
“When I saw the cover I was so happy because I’m a big fan of Harry’s. I think it was great of Harry to wear a dress and help get rid of gender norms. I was glad to see one of my favorite musicians expressing himself,” Fonseca said.
He said the internet split into two sides because people have strong opinions on what genders should and should not wear.
“The internet split into two different sides because one side supported him wearing a dress and the other didn’t. The people who didn’t support him aren’t used to seeing men in dresses, but since they’re afraid of individuality and change, they decided to attack him online,” said Fonseca.
Fonseca said Styles’ appearance in the magazine taught him that people will always have an opinion so it is better to live doing what you love the most.
“I’ve learned that no matter what you do people will always disagree. So do what makes you feel best,” said Fonseca.