In November, Harry Styles boldly redefined masculinity while exposing toxic masculinity from users on Twitter.
In the year of 2020, there are many who define themselves as gender nonconforming, agender, or gender fluid. The age of traditional gender roles and the idea of having to conform to a specific gender is in decline.
On the cover of Vogue magazine, Harry Styles challenged the notion of gender conformity by wearing a dress. Many users on Twitter applauded Harry’s vogue cover, saying that he was representing gender fluid people and challenging gender stereotypes.
One user tweeted, “Masculinity is not defined by articles of clothing. The toxic masculinity is real out here today.”
However, many people did not approve. Candace Owens, a conservative activist and author tweeted, “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 an outright attack. Bring back manly men.”
Many Twitter users were outraged in the comments, claiming that Owens was being offensive towards feminine men as well as those who didn’t identify as male or female. People also claimed that she was promoting toxic masculinity, which puts pressure on men to conform to traditional roles and shames those who don’t. This may also encourage the domination of men over women.
Fans came and defended Harry Styles against Owens.
“It's so sad to see the man who is so unproblematic and always preaches kindness being brought down. He's a good person, wearing a dress or wearing a suit. Your clothes should not determine how manly or feminine you are. or who you are as a person.” One fan wrote in defense of her idol.
Others resorted to straight up cursing at Owens in the comments, or simply tweeting Harry Styles fancams in response to the attack on their favorite singer.
However, there were many who seemed to resonate with Owen’s message, primarily men.
A man replied to Owen’s tweet with, “Lord help us all! These soft handed Starbucks coffee drinking skinny jean wearing man ladies haven't ever had a real woman in their lives!”
For many, comments like these fueled a heated debate that had Harry Styles’ name trending on Twitter: What is masculinity? How is it defined? And why are we still pressuring men to confine themselves to traditional roles?
Fans weren’t the only ones who rushed to Styles’ defense, though. Candace Owens caught the eye of several famous celebrities when she declared war on the Harry Styles fandom. Olivia Wilde responded under Owen’s comment, calling her “pathetic.”
Lord of the Rings actor Elijah Wood tweeted, “I think you’ve missed the definition of what a man is. masculinity alone does not make a man,” in defense of the “Watermelon Sugar” singer.
As Jameela Jamil pointed out in her tweet, “Harry Styles is plenty manly, because manly is whatever you want it to be.”