By Smilla Batteux
“Playtime with Harry Styles” states the December edition of the US Vogue, showing the singer-songwriter Harry Styles in a ballgown by Gucci. For most of his fans the fancy clothes are nothing new according to Harry’s previous outfit choices over the last few years.
Between all the positive feedback Harry Styles and the Vogue team are receiving, there seems to be one woman concerned about the message this picture is mediating.
On November 13th, Vogue Magazine announced their cooperation with Harry Styles via Twitter stating how much fun they have had working together with Harry.
A day later Candace Owens, who is a political activist supporting Trump, retweeted the Tweet from Vogue Magazine.
“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 outright attack.
Bring back manly men”(Candace Owens via Twitter 14th November 2020)
She is not specifically criticizing Harry Styles alone, but the general social change that is allowing boys to paint their nails, wear whatever they want, including dresses and skirts. She advocates the return of the manly men, who are able to protect the country or their women.
Candace Owens is known for standing against the Black Lives Matter movement, Feminism and also supports the “Pro Life” side in the ongoing discussion in America about abortion. Although earlier she was working for a left winged anti-Trump blog until she wanted to release a website in 2016 to reveal online bullies. Almost everyone working in that area was against that idea, and she received a lot of harsh criticism. During that time some strong Trump supporters publicly defended her, which has probably caused her to become Republican.
After her Tweet had gotten so much attention, she went live on Instagram to talk in even more detail about her Tweet.
She says again, that she was not attacking Harry personally but Vogue and the culture that stands behind men wearing dresses. She also mentions that people belonging to the left side of politics cannot stand the things that work and function, and they need to change these by turning men into women and women into men.
Just because a man is wearing a dress, he is not changing his gender or his sexual orientation. Just because a woman is shaving her head, she is not changing into a man. But if Candace thinks that putting on a dress as a man is making those men less manly, I wonder why there are so many occasions where she wore a suit although she claims to be such a loving feminine wife.
Later on in her video, Owens also says: “I believe people should do and live as they want but I think it is wrong for our society to pervert things.”
The dictionary defines perverted as: characterized by sexually abnormal and unacceptable practices or tendencies. She seems to be afraid that society is growing increasingly sexually abnormal, which does not fit into her concept of normal. Her concept of normal being a man in clothes that underline his male gender.
I see nothing sexual in the image of Harry on the Vogue cover. Other covers of women naked or in lingerie have included more sexualisation.
Before that she mentions that she does not find men in dresses to be attractive and after that generalizes her position by saying any woman that claims to find a man in a dress attractive is lying.
While I am thinking that it is totally fine that she does not find men in dresses attractive I do not like her generalizing things like sexual preferences, which is different for every human being. Everyone has a different taste and there are plenty of women that do find men in dresses attractive, including myself.
“If I see a man in a dress, I think he’s a crackhead,” she states after talking about imagining the normal world without the Hollywood glamour. Breaking down what she is trying to say is that if she sees a man on the street in a dress, she is going to think that man is on drugs.
Her thoughts about every man in a dress being an addict or crackhead could accord with the fact that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQIA+ in America and because living on the street is pretty unbearable, some people might become drug addicts to cope with it. But saying that people like Kurt Cobain, Prince or Freddie Mercury are “just mentally ill drug addicts” that should not be seen as a role model is not solving the problem many young people that are part of the LGBTQIA+ movement are having. There are many gay men saying it really helps them to become themselves by seeing people like Harry Styles or Iggy Pop just embracing their love for fashion.
“I think you’ve missed the definition of what a man is. Masculinity alone does not make a man” is the answer of Elijah Wood to Owens’ Tweet. Putting a man in a dress does not take away his masculinity or make him weak.
Many people, including myself, felt like it was 1950 again hearing what Candace Owens had to say. To make this point clearer at the end of her livestream she says: Since the beginning of humanity, we’ve had men protecting and defending, we’ve had women nurturing. And once again I believe that to be a sign of insincerity considering her big career in politics and the lack of devotion to her duties as a woman, in the limited way she has defined womanhood.