In November 2020, the 26 years old english singer, songwriter and actor Harry Styles, was the first man to be featured solo on the cover of Vogue US. To celebrate this event he wore a black tuxedo paired with a periwinkle blue gown.
He has never hidden his love for eccentric and unusual looks, which played a key role in the development of his distinctive personality as an artist. Skirts, heels, perls and manicured nails are what he got us used to.
In the magazine’s cover he shared his thoughts on personal growth and on his vision of fashion. “Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with.. 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” he said.
He loves playing with clothes and wears whatever makes him feel comfortable, without paying attention to gender-based rules imposed by society. “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.”
But obviously not everyone was able to understand the beautiful massage the artist was sending. This moment, that brought many people hope for change and evolution, was ruined by the numerous right-wingers who were enraged and scandalized by what Styles was wearing. An example is the author Candace Owens who wrote: “bring back manly man”
But how has our definition of manhood become so fragile that a simple piece of fabric can take it away? How did gender norms become so strict that the first sight of fluidity is seen as something terrible and condemnable? And most importantly, since when did clothes define how much of a man someone is?
If we just stop for a moment and think, all these things are absurd and not logical, but they have roots so deep in our mentality that we take them for true, we think this is just the way things are and that just because it has been like this until now, this is the right way, but it isn’t. You are as much of a man in a skirt as you are in pants, there isn’t a definition to masculinity, it is yours to define. You can paint your nails, wear heels, wigs and makeup if you feel like it, why should you be stopped by some useless barrier that has been put in your mind?
Fortunately, every day we witness more and more men taking action to change the situation.
Harry Styles has always been an icon of gender-fluid fashion and is one of the many “manly” men who reject being forced to follow rules that limit their expression.
And if we really want to talk about what is manly or not, how is someone comfortable in his own skin, confident and brave enough to choose to be the version of himself he wants to be less manly than someone who judges others and considers them inferior just by their appearance?
Simona Moraschini 3BL