Is Candace Owens right to call out Harry Styles for wearing a dress in Vogue?


Fact Box

  • Candace Owens is a conservative commentator, formerly a spokeswoman for Turning Point USA, and currently hosts The Candace Owens Show on PragerU. She co-founded the Blexit movement to encourage minorities—especially Black citizens—to exit the Democratic party and pursue the American Dream.
  • Harry Styles is an English singer known as the youngest member of the popular boy band, One Direction. The band separated in 2015. Since then, he has released two hit singles and an album, Fine Line
  • Styles has been labeled as a fashion icon for his flamboyant style and “ability to blur gender boundaries.” In 2018, he was revealed as the face of Gucci’s tailoring campaign. 
  • Friday, November 13, US Vogue featured Harry Styles, the first ever male cover. Since release, his fashion photoshoot has sparked controversial debates around the states. 
  • Owens tweeted her concerns over the shoot, “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.”

Tyler (No)

By referring to Harry Styles' Vogue magazine cover as an attack on masculinity, Candace Owens is projecting blatant disregard toward today's progressive society. This is one of many situations where Owens has exhibited a great deal of insensitivity towards a group of people that have been neglected throughout recent history.

When tying Styles' dress to the idea that Marxism is taking over Western civilization, Owens contributes to the culture of toxic masculinity that has plagued society. By making such a drastic connection, Owens discourages young boys from being creative and experimenting with their fashion choices. Up to 7% of children under 12 years old express an interest in 'cross-dressing,' but many are too ashamed to showcase their ideas. The World Health Organization reported that men who engage in behaviors often referred to as 'toxic masculinity' are at least 20% more likely to commit suicide, pick up a drug addiction, or be murdered. Owen's irresponsible claims feed into the harmful tradition of denigrating those who choose to break societal norms. 

For the past half-century, ground-breaking artists like Prince, David Bowie, and Elton John have experimented with their fashion choices by abandoning some of society's masculine standards. While all these artists faced criticism for displaying their masculinity this way, they did not evaporate the importance of a 'strong man' in society. Owens' erroneous implication that Styles is not a 'strong man' simply due to his clothing choices is flawed. One's fashion does not define their character, work ethic, or leadership traits.

Elizabeth (Yes)

So Harry Styles wore a dress on the Vogue cover, and in the big picture of 2020, this seems inconsequential. However, in regards to the culture war Candace Owens frequently engages, it's the biggest deal. Never shy from lobbing grenades into conversations, she has some valid points

Styles' couture choices aside, Marxism/communism is indeed on the rise across the globe and within US borders, and we are losing our capability to withstand it. Leftist activists' insistence on making free-thinking Americans conform to Marxist 'Wokeness,' like that found in BLM and Critical Race Theory, is mildly annoying at best, tyrannical at worst. As actor/author Stephen Fry has stated, '[liberals] are somehow undiverse in their call for diversity…' While they call for diversity of expression (like blowing up 'gender roles/norms') and demand racial diversity, they do not allow for diversity of thought

To Owens' point, Americans are increasingly unsure or even outright against what America is and stands for. This is while communist China asserts itself in unprecedented ways. Owens isn't wrong to be concerned about men (and women) losing their way in this time of cultural upheaval. Instead of constantly clanging the bell of 'men are toxic,' we would all be better served by encouraging better masculinity and allowing men to be the best versions of themselves. Equality doesn't mean uniformity. And we absolutely need strong men every bit as much as we need strong women in society. Though her methods often ruffle feathers, Owens is attempting to counter the trend toward devaluing men as a whole. Devalued women undermine cultural stability, the same is true of men. So maybe that means Harry will keep his dress on.

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