Blurring the Fine Line

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A blue dress hangs above a pair of men’s dress shoes. Both of these items of fashion represented the stereotypical expectation of what girls and boys should wear; Harry Styles has embraced both sides of fashion.

Brooke Follrad, print staff

      Harry Styles has been a hot topic in the media recently for how he is defeating toxic masculinity. According to VeryWellMind.com, toxic masculinity is defined by adherence to traditional male gender roles that consequently stigmatize and limit the emotions boys and men may comfortably express themselves. He is okay with wearing clothes that aren’t considered “male clothes.” In a 2020 Vogue photoshoot interview, he said “To not wear [something] because it’s females’ clothing, you shut out a whole world of great clothes… And I think what’s exciting about right now is you can wear what you like. It doesn’t have to be X or Y. Those lines are becoming more and more blurred.” Styles is breaking this border by participating in photoshoots that aren’t restricted by certain fashion.

      Since 2018, he has been modeling for the luxury fashion brand Gucci. He has done multiple partnerships with the company and has modeled for others, too. In Sept. 2019, he modeled for The Rolling Stones magazine. Along with more photoshoots, Harry Styles has done two popular photoshoots this year. None of his modeling work has been like what he has appeared in recently.

      In the December 2020 issue of Vogue, Styles became the first man to appear by himself on the cover of the magazine. These photos received a lot of buzz in the media because he is pictured wearing a dress and skirts. Candace Owens, a conservative American author and political activist, has given Styles her word of criticism on the photos. On Nov. 16 of this year, she tweeted “I’d like to clarify what I meant when I said ‘bring back manly men.’ I meant: Bring back manly men.”

      As a rebuttal, Harry Styles’s fans gave Owens backlash for the statements she made. Styles took matters into his own hands and posted a photo to Instagram from a new photoshoot with Variety Magazine. He captioned his post with “Bring back manly men.” The photographer of the picture, Parker Woods, posted other photos from the shoot and captioned it “Harry, a real man”.

     The Vogue photoshoot broke a lot of barriers in the fashion world. Styles was able to go from strutting in a dress to posing with his sister, Gemma Styles, in a trench coat. 

     Harry Styles has grown to be comfortable with showing this side of himself and being the one to break the borders. He has put himself more “out there” with his clothing decisions in recent years. He became known for wearing bold suits, especially during his solo debut album’s tour.

     Previous One Direction member Harry Styles has been known in his solo career to show his support for equality. When in the band, Styles waved gay pride flags at some concerts. Since he went solo, he has waved gay pride, Black Lives Matter and other such flags. He is an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and has created a welcoming fanbase for all.

     Styles’s motto is to “treat people with kindness.” He is seen as a good role model for all the work he is doing and the love he shows. Styles is always spreading positivity and following his motto.