THWK: treat Harry with kindness

Harry Styles receives backlash for wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue.


Emma Leslie, Staff writer

Most people would agree that Harry Styles is perfect. If you disagree with that statement, there is a chance that you are Candace Owens. 

In the morning of November 16, Vogue announced that the one and only Harry Styles will be on the cover of their December issue. I, along with most of the world, was over the moon when I heard about this. When I saw photos from the magazine of Harry in lace dresses, skirts of tulle, and funky pants, my love for him only grew.

Over the past couple of years, Harry’s beautifully unique outfits have been a topic of discussion. His fashion sense has landed him jobs completely unrelated to his music career, some being multiple Gucci campaigns, co-chairman of the Met Gala, and now, this Vogue cover.

As someone who has looked up to him for years, seeing someone so confident and unapologetically himself, it gives me more confidence, especially when it comes to clothes. I know I am not the only one to be encouraged by his simple act of boldness. 

On Monday, my celebration of Harry was cut short when I felt the need to run to defend him against Candace Owens, a right-wing commentator. Candace Owens retweeted Vogue’s announcement and gave her own opinion that “no society can survive without strong men”. Her argument that we need to “bring back manly men” in response to Harry wearing a dress is extremely disheartening for many reasons.

It may seem like I am only upset because I love Harry Styles, and I am just an upset fangirl, however, it goes deeper than that. Candace Owens, Ben Shapiro and others that fall under the right side of the political spectrum are only feeding into the toxic masculinity and internalized misogyny mindset that is already too present in our society. 

One thing that has really bothered me about this whole “controversy” is the fact that people see being feminine as a weakness. By saying we need “manly men” when someone is showcasing their more feminine side inherently says being feminine is a negative thing. I personally feel there is something very masculine when a man can be proud to be feminine.

This is when toxic masculinity and internalized misogyny begin to take shape. Boys are told most of their lives that they need to be these strong and emotionless people, and then are looked down upon when they do not act like that. Having emotions and being vulnerable is not a weakness, and being feminine is not a weakness. This mindset leads to internalized misogyny in women, which is this dislike of themselves as women. Both mindsets are sad to see because women and men are equally special and should not have to change their personalities to fit society’s “norms”. 

Another thing that has really irked me is that people still feel the need to comment on other people’s lives. I don’t know if Harry even cared about what they were saying about his outfits, but I don’t understand the need to make a comment about it, especially such a disheartening one. At this point in life I would think that society has moved on from tearing people down. 

However, fans of Harry, celebrities, and even people who have not heard of Harry are quickly jumping to his defense. This proves to me that people are slowly becoming more accepting, which will give people the freedom to be whoever they want. 

Harry’s whole mantra is “Treat People With Kindness”, so let’s simply do that. It shouldn’t matter who they are or who they want to be. Let’s treat Harry with kindness, let’s treat Candace with kindness, and let’s treat everyone with kindness.