The Struggle of Individuality


For years the stigma around men and the adoption of femininity have yielded negative reactions. The name calling and shame force men into a small box of accepted norms that suppress any inkling of individuality they possess. Every so often, an artist or individual will arise to break through these barriers and unleash their creativity. From David Bowie and Prince to Billy Porter and Elton John, men have been embracing a more feminine look. Recently, Harry Styles has stirred up controversy on the cover of ‘Vogue’ for his designer, Gucci gown.

Every look from the December issue embodies a perfect combination of traditionally masculine and feminine silhouettes. They walk a fine line between both extremes. The concept of the photoshoot is paying homage to his childhood of dressing up and youthful activities. This playful, childlike essence is encapsulated in the use of large, mismatch clothing. Harry is the first male to grace the cover of ‘Vogue’ alone.

Making history and doing so while breaking gender stereotypes warranted some backlash. Candace Owens, a conservative commentator, was quick to defend heteronormativity in clothing by pinning the success of society on ‘manly’ men. She is backed by the support of several other conservatives, such as Ben Shapiro. Together they argue that introduction of femme males stagnates the flourishment of humanity and is inherently unnatural.

In his ‘Vogue’ interview, Harry Styles talks briefly about his philosophy when it comes to fashion. He details how he pays no mind to the gender of clothing because if something catches his eye, he appreciates the item regardless of its intended audience. Restricting life based on what others say and accept only limits true happiness and Harry drives this point when mentioning style. Manhood is not threatened by an article of clothing.