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Why Does Everyone on Twitter Hate Harry Styles All of a Sudden?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McMaster chapter.

It’s hard to say when the Harry Styles hate train began. One can say his relationship with Olivia Wilde and the whole Don’t Worry Darling promo run was what kickstarted his downfall but I don’t believe it. If we were to look further, we can see a festering hatred for this man that was locked in the depths of Twitter until it found the perfect time to bubble over and manifest into viral tweets. His sudden online hatred has been a topic of interest that’s been bothering me for quite some time. Due to pure boredom and insomnia, I decided to do some investigative work on what really caused Harry Styles’s internet downfall.

I wanted to clarify that Harry has only fallen from grace on the internet. He’s out there with a number one single on Billboard and selling out 15 consecutive Madison Square Garden shows in a row. The current hate he’s been receiving has not faltered his success whatsoever.

The 2019 Met Gala. This was probably when it all started. Harry, at that point in his career, had dressed up in ways that blurred the lines of gendered clothing. He even performs a song on tour where he talks about sleeping with boys and girls. His sexuality had always been a point of interest. So, when he showed up to a high-profile event wearing high heels, it was a pretty big deal. If you asked some parts of the internet, they would praise him for reframing masculinity. Others would say that he wasn’t bold enough. Despite “aesthetically” presenting himself as a queer man, he had never gone out of his way to confirm his sexuality. 

When his 2020 Vogue cover came out, all hell broke loose. A seemingly cishet man was on the cover of a prominent magazine wearing a dress as if it was no big deal. Right-wing conservatives immediately condemned him and called it “an attack on masculinity and Western civilization”. As a response, all of his fans over-compensated by prompting him up as the queer icon. He was put on such a high pedestal but he had still been unlabeled which some people in the community found odd. At this time the general consensus was still quite positive. Every woman loved Harry due to his down-to-earth nature, pure charisma, and overall rejection of toxic masculinity. He inevitably became a fashion icon for both men and women. His influence had saturated gen z spaces; it was almost inescapable. He was praised almost unanimously throughout the internet. During this entire fiasco, Paper Magazine published an article that highlighted a commenter’s point that said, “Not you or Vogue giving credit to a cis-man doing what queer people have been doing for decades.”

Fast forward to 2022, Harry Styles had yet to come out. Every time he had been asked about his sexuality he would give non-answers which left everyone to believe that he was a cishet man who liked the queer aesthetic. Loads of people on the internet were getting tired of him dancing around the subject because at this point of his career, whether intentional or not, queerness had been so integral to his public persona and yet had still refused to be a member of the community. This, along with his string of performative activism and history of dating women with problematic pasts, made the internet turn on him. Also, the internet found out that he was slated to act in several high-budget Hollywood movies. They were absolutely appalled by this as they believed that he didn’t deserve it and that he only received these roles solely because of his name. Slowly, his perfectly curated public persona was falling apart and everyone saw him as some queerbaiting, cishet privileged man, who doesn’t even know how to act.

Now, a lot of what I said I don’t believe in. I’ve been a Harry fan since his One Direction days and I’ve gone to three of his concerts. I think it’s weird and entitled that people demand him to profess his sexuality from the top of a mountain. Not everyone needs a label nor should have one. It’s unfair that just because he’s a public figure that he has to owe everyone something as personal as his sexuality. But I also don’t want to downplay his performative activism. I think we as a society should stop expecting these rich, privileged celebrities to have the same progressive beliefs that we do when the current political landscape was built for people like them. Maybe Harry Styles never wanted to be a queer icon. Maybe the internet just happened to fall into the same cycle of idealizing normal people, but that’s a different topic for a different article.

Krissie Cruz is a National Writer for the Wellness department and a contributor to the Her Campus McMaster chapter. She writes a slew of topics but primarily focuses on all things culture, wellness and life. Aside from Her Campus, Krissie is currently a fourth-year political science student with a specialization in public law and judicial studies. She also has a minor in philosophy and an interest in applied social sciences research. Although her initial dream was to pursue law, her passion for writing has led her to a future in the publishing industry. Despite a shift in interests, politics and social justice hold a special place in her heart. In her free time, she spends hours binge-reading, taking film photography, and curating oddly specific Spotify playlists. She’s an active participant in the queer Toronto space by attending events and if her schedule allows it, volunteering for Pride Toronto.