On November 13th 2020, Harry Styles made history by being the first person to identify as a male to appear solo on the cover of American Vogue. However, this cover was historic in numerous other ways, especially due to the fact that Styles appeared in a dress.
This gender-defying cover was revolutionary, and brought forth much conversation. Many were against the display of gender-fluidity and believed that the Vogue cover set a bad standard. Author and political commentator, Candace Owens, was outspoken about the negative impact of the Vogue cover, stating “There is no society that can survive without strong men. It is an outright attack. Bring back manly men.” However, many were quick to rebut, suggesting that Owen’s claims were reliant on her stereotypical depictions of what a strong and manly man should look like. A twitter user responded “An article of clothing does not mean a man is not strong. An article of clothing does not determine who a person is.”
Despite the critics, many supporters believe that the Vogue cover stimulated positivity and compelled a very necessary conversation. One student at MTHS stated “I think that Harry Styles has an extremely powerful influence and by wearing something that many would consider against the status quo, he’s inspiring so many people to be more confident in their identity and embrace their true-selves.” Styles has even inspired a TikTok trend in which users defy gender stereotypes and embrace femininity and masculinity regardless of their gender identity.
It is clear that Harry Styles has shattered gender stereotypes, whether people believe it is for the better or for the worse. Harry Styles has redefined masculinity and although he is no short of his critics, he is constantly empowering others to be themselves. His cover on Vogue catalyzed a change in gender roles that will be apparent for generations to come. Harry Styles has generated an inner monologue amongst many, causing us to question “What does it really mean to be a man?”