Commentary: Bring Back Effeminate Men


Yareli Perez Ortiz/Foothill Forum

Cover of December Vogue Magazine

Yareli Perez Ortiz, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Harry Styles was on the cover of Vogue for the Dec. edition wearing a dress, and when I say that this caused controversy, that’d be an understatement. 

In response to the Vogue cover,  Candace Owens, an American conservative, wrote on her twitter, “There is no society that can survive without strong men…Bring back manly men.” The insult was directed toward singer/songwriter Harry Styles, who has repeatedly shown that fashion has no gender.

It’s short-sighted to see fashion as having gender boundaries. Is there something so wrong about men appreciating women’s expression that it’d be considered morally wrong in the eyes of those who disagree? This just proves that people still cling to the antiquated idea of the mythical “manly man.”

Who are we to judge what others wear? There have been multiple artists in the past who express themselves through fashion. Prince, Elton John, and Juan Gabriel are all famous artists who have fashion sense similar to those of Styles. If that fashion is feminine, then so be it. Clothing is just another form of art and expression. It’s a way of exploring who you are and who you want to be. 

It can be argued that people would find it uncomfortable or weird for a man to wear a dress, but allowing people to do as they please is more respectful than rudely allowing your opinion to blind you from the fact that it only affects you if you let it. Any man who wears a sparkly suit, or a dress, is only doing it for themselves and not for the pleasure of others. 

Candace Owens responds to Harry Styles’ style (Yareli Perez Ortiz/Foothill Forum)

The theory that a society cannot survive without strong men is bizarre. Common man stereotypes are those that acknowledge the strength of a man. Attributes like misogyny, greed, and power all make up the image of a man. It’s no secret that Owens’s views on gender roles are influenced by her political views. Her belief that men and women shouldn’t be on the same scale of equality is contributing to the toxic masculinity norms that men should be the dominator in a man-woman relationship.

The idea that an article of clothing makes a man less strong is even more bizarre. Clothing doesn’t determine masculinity. When Owens states, “Bring back manly men,” she’s encouraging the toxic masculinity that is present in today’s society. Not only does that hurt the growing evolution of our society, but it influences close-minded people who disregard the opinions or actions of those who are different.

As time goes on, it should be normalized for people to express themselves however they’d like. Whether that expression be in the form of art, music, or fashion, people should learn to respect it. They don’t have to agree with it, but they should be considerate enough to respect that person’s choice. 

Let expression have no barriers and allow minds to learn to respect.