Bring Back Manly Men


“The steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. It is an outright attack.” This quotation is pulled directly from a tweet shared by Candace Owens, a popular conservative author and activist, to her 2.8 million twitter followers. This tweet is “an outright attack” on singer, songwriter, and actor Harry Styles, who graced the December Vogue magazine cover wearing a blue Gucci dress. He is the first man to ever pose solo on Vogue’s front cover, which should be considered a venerable accomplishment rather than an offense to America’s world power.

Her demand for the revival of “manly men” is a toxic message. The notion that the clothes a person chooses to wear determines their masculinity, or gender in general, is a harmful sentiment to promote. Users on social media platforms, especially younger ones, should not have to feel they need to fit a certain mold to be accepted by society. Owens also stressed that society cannot survive without strong men. However, what makes a “strong man”? It certainly is not the clothing that he chooses to wear. 

  Owens is not the only person who has spoken out to criticize Styles for wearing a dress. Popular conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro agreed with Owens’ statements. He responded in a tweet to his 3.4 million followers that, “This is perfectly obvious. Anyone who pretends that it is not a referendum on masculinity for men to don floofy dresses is treating you as a full-on-idiot.” This was another unnecessary, hateful comment. Owens and Shapiro have used the terms “masculinity” and “manly” to shame Styles for his choices, but there should be no rules to dictate what makes a man more masculine or manly. 

Gendered clothing is merely a social construct. People have long enforced which clothes suit each gender, but no one is born believing that dresses are only for girls. Throughout history, men have worn powdered wigs, dresses, and makeup that at the time, suited the fashion of those eras. But now, in what should be a more progressive age, people want to shame others for wearing clothing because they believe it is supposedly made for one gender?   

 On Dec. 2, Styles responded to the condemnations of his Vogue cover clothing choices. On Instagram, he posted another picture from a photoshoot with the caption “Bring back manly men,” a nod Owens’ criticism.  This is the only statement Styles made towards the situation. 

 Many students at LHS have followed the dispute and formed their own opinions of the matter. Junior Max Moscheni said, “I think it is ridiculous that Candance Owens is attacking Harry Styles. Clothing has no gender, and people should feel the freedom to express themselves, whether it be through clothing or makeup, without the fear of judgement. I will never understand how others can be so hateful and judge those who only want to express themselves through what they feel necessary, especially by going after a celebrity like Harry Styles.” 

Senior Olivia Erndl said,  “I found Candace Owens’ attacks on Harry Styles to be desperate. Obviously, this woman is a public figure, so she was pretty well-known before this. But, attacking one of the world’s biggest stars seems like a cry for attention, especially since a lot of people take the expression ‘bad press is better than no press’ to heart. I think Candace Owens is simply an insecure, misogynistic person, who refuses to even consider supporting modern pop culture trends and the abolishment of gender specific clothing.” 

  People who choose to wear the clothing they like, regardless of societally constructed gender norms, should not be condemned by the judgments of close-minded people. A man wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue should not have warranted such a dramatic, negative reaction, and Owens’ statements are harmful to a great degree.