“Harry Styles makes his own rules,” reads the cover of Vogue’s most recent issue. In mid-November, the “Watermelon Sugar,” icon made history as the first man to ever be featured on the cover of a fashion magazine, and the former One Direction member, Harry Styles did not disappoint, looking dashing in his Gucci’s frothy, lace-trimmed creation, paired with a double-breasted tuxedo jacket, defying the constraints of toxic masculinity and finally opening people's eyes to gender nonconformity within the fashion industry.
People think the movement transpires, only, in the realm of non-binary community, but ultimately, not only is this idea misconieved, but reveals the root of the problem. Our world loves labeling: we have become a community of labels, especially when something defies cultural norms.
A parent takes their son to the store to buy some toys. He’s drawn to the pretty dresses and dolls on the shelves. University of San Francisco’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Director, Diane Ehrensaft, shared that the majority of parents who have this experience come running through psychologists’ office doors. Their first questions being, Is my son a transgender girl? Does this mean he is gay? What is wrong with my son? People try to reason out these events, creating labels. Of course in our society, everyone must have a label and live to that label; strayal is frowned upon. The honest answer to these questions rely solely on the individual. Since it’s not yet socially acceptable for boys to be interested in feminineeale clothing, it’s generally frowned upon. However, the only acceptable answer should be, “He’s a boy who likes dresses.”
We have to ask ourselves: “Why do we not ask the same question when a girl wants to play with toy trucks or ‘masculine’ toys?” While girls are accepted for expressing their masculine side, and tomboy girls are praised for defying norms,society makes boys and men feel as though they must shield their femininity from the world, hiding their true selves.
So, why does society find it so problematic for men to wear dresses, or feminine clothing? Labels. Dresses are categorized as dainty and delicate. In a world of toxic masculinity, “manly men” live in a world where they “don't cry” and are expected to “be the man of the house.” When someone doesn’t step out of the sphere that society considers “socially or culturally acceptable,” society shields the reality of change by retaliating.
The issue is overcomplicated. Just because society isn’t used to such actions of men in dresses, people reason out these actions by defining their sexuality or gender-identity for them. Or, even worse, hate and rip them apart for not conforming to who society wants them to be. But Why is femininity something to be ashamed of? As a woman, I am proud to address both my feminine and masculine side, I don’t see why boys and men can’t do the same. Ultimately, it comes down to this:if you’re scrolling through social media and see a boy or man in a dress and love it, you’re then welcome to put one on too. But if you don’t like it, just keep scrolling.Don’t stop and hate. Today, men come in all shapes, sizes, and clothing.