Harry Styles’s Vogue Cover Sparks Conversation about Masculinity and Representation

Claire Moeser, Sports Editor


British pop star, and former member of the band One Direction, Harry Styles is the first man to appear solo on the cover of Vogue in the 128-year history of the magazine. The cover for the December issue of Vogue Magazine features Styles in a lace-trimmed Gucci dress. Styles’s choice to wear a dress on the cover created discussions about masculinity and about a lack of representation of transgender people of color.

“There is no society that can survive without strong men,” conservative political commentator Candace Owens tweeted “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 an outright attack. Bring back manly men.” 

Styles responded to Owens’s comments with an Instagram post captioned “Bring back manly men.”

Owens replied hours later on Twitter: “When people try to tell me I don’t have influence, and then @Harry_Styles dedicates an entire post to my tweet. I inspire global conversation.”

Celebrities and fans defended Styles on social media by retweeting and reposting pictures from the photoshoot. However, some people shared their mixed feelings towards the photoshoot.

“Am I happy to see Harry be celebrated for openly flouting gendered fashion norms? Yes.” Alok Vaid-Menon, a gender non-conforming author, said in an Instagram post. “Do trans femmes of color receive praise for doing the same thing every day? No.” 

Vogue received criticism for using a cisgender, white man to be a symbol of the gender-fluid fashion movement. Styles is celebrated for his fashion choices, while the transgender community is vilified or ignored. Trans people of color largely started the movement and receive little credit for their advancements of gender-fluidity and LGBTQ+ rights. The photoshoot exposed the fashion industry’s ongoing struggle with diversity and inclusion.

Many brands are beginning to recognize the importance of representing all members of society. It is becoming increasing popular to use models of all races, genders, abilities and sizes. The changes to the  industry come as brands try to appeal to the diversity of their consumers.