By Faiza Ahmed and Fiona O'Reilly
In the past couple of years, celebrities with large platforms have taken action to defy gender norms placed by society, specifically in fashion. Most recently, popular singer-songwriter Harry Styles, who is known for his unique style, appeared in a Vogue photoshoot wearing a variety of outfits including dresses and skirts, contradicting the societal standards placed on men.
Styles' shoot prompted both support and backlash from other celebrities. Openly-declared conservatives such as Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens disapproved of his bold defiance of gender norms, with Owens stating she wants to “bring back manly men” in a tweet regarding the photoshoot. Many were calling out Owens for her hypocrisy since she regularly wears suits, an article of clothing traditionally worn by men.
Artwork by Sabeena Ramdarie, @jammin_with_jelly
Harry Styles' VOGUE photoshoot has sparked many conversations, some on whether or not Styles' outfit choice was "manly" or not.
On December 2, Styles posted an Instagram photo of himself in a suit, sarcastically captioning the post “Bring back manly men” after blocking Candace Owens on the platform. On the other side of the argument, musician Machine Gun Kelly has shown extensive support for Styles. The cover star of the latest issue of Nylon appeared in a skirt in one of the photos, which was assumed to encourage the Vogue shoot.
The normalization of expression through fashion and the disregarding of traditional standards have shared an important message to future generations and have enabled people to feel comfortable enough to express themselves however they please.
“It is important for society to accept people wearing what is comfortable to them. Self-expression is really important for the individual person and we as a society have to work on letting people wear what they want,” said freshman Veronica Fulgieri.
However, the shifts in attitudes toward gendered clothing are not all due to Styles' bold fashion choices. For years, many celebrities have worn articles of clothing that are stereotypically associated with the opposite gender. It all starts with the differentiation between unisex clothing and gendered clothing. Unisex clothing relates to clothing that both men and women wear, such as shirts. Meanwhile, gendered clothing pieces are associated with specific genders, like dresses for women and suit coats for men. Society has deemed what females and males are supposed to wear, but in this era, there is a breakthrough.
“People in the rising generations believe gender should not dictate clothing...”
“Gendered clothing has led to a lot of hate towards feminine men, masculine women, or nonbinary people. Now that it’s changing, I hope to see more appreciation for different types of clothing expression and less discrimination,” said junior Lauren DiGregorio.
Celebrities such as Harry Styles, Jaden Smith, and Machine Gun Kelly refuse to conform to social norms while radiating confidence to their fans. People in the rising generations believe gender should not dictate clothing, claiming the new status quo, “wear what makes you happy.”