Why is Harry Styles Wearing a Dress so Controversial?


Abby Wallace, Reporter

Why is Harry Styles Wearing a Dress so Controversial

Men wearing dresses isn’t unusual today. Many famous celebrities have done it even before Harry Styles but all of a sudden him wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue magazine is something that has everyone talking, some in a good way while others in a bad way. First of all, someone wearing a dress doesn’t hurt you in any way. Secondly, clothing doesn’t have gender, that’s just a misogynistic mindset taking control and making you believe it’s 1920 and not 2020. Some celebrities have made their opinions very clear on social media.

Candace Owens for example had some very expressive opinions about this cover. She posted many things on Twitter talking about how Harry Styles isn’t manly. She said at the end of a long paragraph talking about how it’s not “natural” or “normal” for a man to wear a dress, “bring back manly men.”

Saying a man in a dress isn’t manly or isn’t something they should be doing, is showing her being unable to accept the change in society and people going against gender norms. Those comments say more about her than Harry. 

You also would need to think about if the roles were reversed. For a long period of time women couldn’t wear pants. Now a woman wearing a pants suit isn’t unusual. It shows them as powerful and confident, but apparently, a man in a dress is considered “too feminine” or “unmasculine.” It’s really infuriating watching people use those sexist terms towards something that isn’t what you usually see. People are so quick to correct a person when they say something sexist or misogynistic about women but when it’s about a man people just let it slide and tell them to “take it like a man,” which is also really sexist.

What’s really confusing is why are people just now talking about this when many other male celebrities have worn dresses. To name a few, Benedict Cumberbatch wears dresses and even has said he is comfortable dressing like a woman while he has played many female roles on stage. Ezra Miller was born male but is now gender-neutral which means they go by they/them pronouns, they often wear dresses on the red carpet and also wear makeup. Marc Jacobs is another celebrity who is entirely about going against gender norms because, while he is a fashion designer, he often uses male models while advertising clothing to women. Adam Sandler, a big-time movie actor, played his own sister in the flopped movie Jack and Jill, but even though it flopped, he still did a fabulous job. Billy Porter, a Broadway actor, is very comfortable with himself in dresses as he wore a black gown to the 2019 Academy Awards and a colorful pink and red dress to the 2019 Tony Awards. Patrick Swayze played a drag queen in the 1995 movie, To Wong Foo and I don’t think anyone would question his masculinity. Last but definitely not least on this list is David Bowie, a popular 80s artist who has done many photoshoots while wearing dresses. 

The number of people upset about Harry being on the cover of Vogue while wearing a dress is confusing because he isn’t the first man to wear a dress and he sure won’t be the last because men in dresses aren’t gross and disgusting, it’s a power move. It is unexpected, which in fact, doesn’t make them feminine, it shows they are comfortable with who they are and going against gender norms.

Not all celebrities of course are beating down Styles, in fact, many are defending him and being really accepting. One person in particular who was defending him against his own friends was Logan Paul. Logan Paul is a YouTuber who started his platform on Vine and became very popular on YouTube in 2017 and he also has a podcast called Impaulsive where he and his two friends discussed Harry’s dress. His friends were saying similar things to what Candace Owens was saying and calling the cover “not manly.” Logan however was quick to come to Harry’s defense, even if that meant disagreeing with his friends. 

Harry Styles is not a controversial person. His whole brand is about being different and treating others with kindness. Things are changing and sure, at first, some may think it’s weird and has trouble adjusting, which is completely fine. What isn’t fine though is insulting or misgendering people who are different. It’s misogynistic, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic. What people are wearing isn’t hurting anyone. No one is forcing others to wear a dress, all people are saying is to respect people’s differences and not insult them.