The Importance of Vulnerability and Politics, as Told by Harry Styles and Timothée Chalamet

Masked by a hint of comedy relief and sarcasm, singer-songwriter Harry Styles’ interview of actor Timothée Chalamet for i-D Magazine offers a stimulating conversation covering urgent topics. It's one of the most interesting interviews (and my personal favorite) regarding modern masculinity and vulnerability as well as what they mean in today’s generation.

Hailing from the likes of Justin Timberlake and Leonardo Dicaprio, Styles and Chalamet embody the modern day, more refined and introspective versions of the stereotypical Hollywood poster boy. Their discussion for i-D is profound, vulnerable and refreshing, and it has the potential to usher in a better understanding of the social change taking place in young Hollywood. Here are a couple of highlights from the interview:

On toxic masculinity and the importance of being vulnerable:

Styles: Do you feel responsibility as an actor to represent a new form of masculinity on screen?

Chalamet: It’s a brave new world.

Seemingly excited about the question, Chalamet answers that he hopes the roles he plays instigate change, believing the world he lives in is adjusting to a new form of masculinity that isn’t set to a specific mannerism or clothing type. To this, Styles, known for having a colorful wardrobe, acknowledges that he finds a lot of masculinity in being vulnerable and allowing himself to be feminine.

Within being vulnerable there's a sense of confidence to be found—one that ignores toxicity and machismo and instead embraces intimacy and chaos. Being vulnerable is necessary for the scope of human complexity. The sense of gaining masculinity from the duality of vulnerability and sometimes femininity is increasingly more prevalent in today’s Hollywood, often coming across in Chalamet’s films and Styles' music. I think this is really important. Rather than stagnating society at this one sense of what it means to be a “man,” there's an ever-changing definition becoming the norm and allowing for progression.

On using his platform in a positive manner:

Styles: Do you feel pressure to be political in this day and age?

Chalamet responds that rather than pressure, he feels responsible. He notes that while working on "Beautiful Boy," a conversation with Steve Carell led him to the realization that previous generations were more complacent in politics as compared to people his age, who are very engaged in politics. One of the examples he brings up being Emma Gonzalez. Styles agrees as he believes it’s part of his responsibility as a performer to convey his views through his music, and using his platform for positive change.

Change is sparked by small movements, and while a lot of older people still have a “Why should I care?” mentality, it’s our generation that will make waves for society—people like Styles and Chalamet—who believe everything they do is important and deserves to be treated with care and sincerity. It’s impossible to ignore what's happening around us, being political in this day and age is essential.

Styles' and Chalamet's commentary is vital for our generation. When two young "teen idols" explore modern-day masculinity (which doesn't conform to the standards of masculinity around 20 years ago) and understand their responsibility to ignite change through their work (a sense of concern previously absent) it sets a tone of growth as a society. It isn't enough to just be a "heartthrob" anymore. When celebrities acquire a platform it's their obligation to utilize it for progress, whether they like it or not. Styles and Chalamet represent a shift away from instilled machismo and complacency, moving closer to a culture that is compassionate, galvanized and inspired.

To read the full interview between Styles and Chalamet click here.

Image Credit: 1, 2, 3