Pop heart-throb Harry Styles has graced the cover of the latest edition of US Vogue and, in doing so, has become its first male cover star in the title’s esteemed and fashionable 127 year history.
But it’s not so much the choice of cover star that’s attracting all the attention, rather the 26-year-old Styles’ choice of styling.
Standing in a field in London, Styles was photographed in a floor-length Gucci gown underneath a structured black blazer.
Styles was immediately praised by many for his daring style choice and for “breaking down barriers of toxic masculinity and gender stereotypes”.
However, not everyone was happy about Vogue’s and Styles’ decision to frock-up.
Conservative US commentator Candace Owens tweeted in relation to the imagery. “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. Bring back manly men,” the pro-Trump Owens said.
Ben Shapiro, another conservative commentator, agreed with Owens’ attacks. He shared her tweet and added: “Anyone who pretends this is not a referendum on masculinity for men to don floofy dresses is treating you like a full-on idiot.”
Others have raised the question of whether Styles is simply “queerbaiting” – giving the impression he is gay with out publicly coming out or simply stealing from gay culture to sell himself some more albums.
Under the headline “Harry Styles’ ‘Vogue’ Cover May Be Historic, but It Isn’t Radical”, The Daily Beast noted: “Of course, the sight of a famous man in a dress is hardly new and not transgressive, at least when it comes to the world of high fashion.
“Vogue knows this, and cited moments where male musicians ever-so-gently tiptoed across gender binary lines—Mick Jagger in a white romantic dress while singing in Hyde Park in 1969, Kurt Cobain in a printed dress on the cover of The Face magazine.”
While Kalen Allen, who found fame as Ellen DeGeneres show biz reporter, added: “The thing about this Harry Styles debate is black boys dress like that all the time.
“But when we do it we are seen as emasculating the culture, less than, and feminity is seen as unattractive. That’s not a Harry problem, that’s homophobia and a double-standard problem,” Allen wrote on Twitter.
In the interview that accompanied the shoot, Styles addressed his way of approaching fashion, saying: “When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play.
“I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing. It’s like anything — anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself,” Styles said.
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