Harry Styles Breaking Gender Norms

Isabel Coggins

 Former One Direction band member Harry Styles is the first man to stand solo in December’s issue of Vogue Magazine in 128 years. Styles made a big statement, wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue.

 Over the last couple of weeks we have seen multiple sneak peek photos of singer and actor Harry Styles for his Vogue piece. 

For the past few years, Styles has been breaking gender norms and expressing himself through fashion. After the singer went on hiatus from the band One Direction and began his solo career, his fashion statements took off and turned heads. 

Styles showed his feminine side through dressing in bright colors and floral prints with his main fashion pieces being bold pant suits often paired with heeled boots. Each night of Styles first debut album tour he would shock fans with a different outfit each night, even sometimes changing in between sets. 

Fans were thrilled to be seeing Styles on the cover but it created some backlash on whether men should wear dresses or “Bring back manly men.” 

What defines a man? What are gender norms? 

Is it the clothes they wear, the length of their hair, how deep their voice is? 

We live in a society where men are shamed for showing their feminine side whether that’s doing things that women would normally do or dressing in clothes that some may say are for women. 

So why shouldn’t men be allowed to do these things? 

Fashion often felt like it was claimed by women and that women were allowed to have fun trying on different outfits and patterns trying to make statements and express themselves. But the standard was never really thought of for men, they don’t need to express themselves through fashion because it was a “girly” thing to do. Men have other things to worry about, like doing things thought of as masculine or providing for their families. Men had and still have very limited options in ways they felt like they could find their identities or grow confidence in themselves.

The phrase “gender norms” is often thrown around when talking about what is right and wrong for each gender, but what does that really entail? Women and Men are often categorized when it comes to what jobs they should have and what roles they should possess in the household and what they should wear with colors have been sorted out into genders whether they are masculine enough or feminine enough.. Men don’t want to feel like they aren’t masculine enough when all they want to do is find themselves freely without worry.

We talk about wanting to be fair and equal but how can we do that when there are people still being shamed for being themselves and feeling like they have to meet the standards of what others think is acceptable and allowed. 

Clothes have no gender and others shouldn’t be shamed for being happy or being femine or masculine.  Society has taught us that women should do and wear feminine things and men should be more tough and wear masculine things, but where is the equality in that? 

Styles isn’t the first artist to wear a dress. Many popular artists have worn dresses and/ or ‘feminine’ outfits publicly such as David Bowie, Prince and even Kurt Cobain, but the uproar Styles has caused would make one think that a male public figure has never worn a dress. Femininity in men has become something that they should feel shameful for and that is not the case and is very discouraging.  

Let’s begin supporting each other, we are so close to the year 2021 and if this year has taught us anything it’s that there is so much hate in the world and we need to start treating people with kindness.