Man in a dress does not destroy society

Styles pushes some buttons with Vogue photo shoot

Cover of Vogue with Harry Styles in a dress.

The December issue of Vogue features male musician Harry Styles in a dress, putting the conversation of what men can wear to the forefront as many conservatives disapprove of the new look. Their call to bring back “manly men” only pushes the harmful stereotype of what it means to be a man.

To put this situation simply, Harry Styles wore a piece of cloth and people are afraid the world is going to collapse. It started the conversation of femininity and masculinity and only shows how people still view men, believing they need to hold a certain image to be respected as a man.

For example, conservative Candance Owens who quote-tweeted Vogue’s announcement of their cover story, claiming the “steady feminization of our men… is an outright attack” in an attempt of the left to redefine femininity and masculinity.

Firstly, what it means to be feminine and masculine has already been redefined. Young boys used to wear dresses during the Gilded Age. The trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department printed an 1918 article stating, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls.”

The modern use of pink for girls and blue for boys was switched during the 1940s. Many traditional clothing that is still worn today include a dress or skirt like styles for men such as the Scottish kilt. These examples signal there is no “feminization” occuring; men have always been what people now see as feminine.

Owens later asks in an Instagram story posted on Nov.16 if liberals think “anywhere in the East men are wearing dresses and heels.” Owens proceeds to claim “that all of this is just a part of a bigger plan to take down the West … destroying values and weakening our society.”

Her claim that men in the East do not wear dresses is firstly incorrect. Just look up “traditional Korean men’s clothing,” and search results will include a plethora of men in hanboks. Japanese kimonos that resemble a dress are often worn by men as well.

Additionally, saying men being feminine shows weakness and only women are allowed to be feminine insinuates women are meant to be weak. This outdated view keeps women in the box they’ve been placed in and have been working tirelessly to get out of.

Pushing the idea men are not allowed to show weakness also allows harmful stereotypes that cause the high suicide rates seen amongst men. Data collection by the CDC in 2018 showed men accounted for 79 percent of suicide related deaths in the US.

Fearing being seen as weak causes many to not talk about their emotions or reach out for help when they need it the most.

Owens continues the video, saying Vogue is trying to “shove this down our throats,” explaining that the left is trying to “turn women into men and men into women” However, clothes do not equal gender.

Owens often wears suits and this does not make her any less of a woman. If she is comfortable wearing it, that is totally okay– even if it is commonly seen as a clothing style for men. She isn’t destroying modern society by doing this.

While people are entitled to their opinion of what is personally attractive for them, they do not get to dictate who gets to where what. Claiming the downfall of society is a man playing with self-expression is absurd. Let men express themselves how they want.