Vogue Magazine recently released photos from Harry Styles' cover shoot, and Candace Owens, a conservative political commentator, had to give her two cents. Styles was wearing a dress on the cover, which led Owens to tweet that we need to "Bring back manly men." She also stated that "There is no society that can survive without strong men" and "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."
It is so incredibly sad to think that a man isn't strong just because he is wearing a dress or any other feminine clothing. Following the current social ideals of masculinity is not what makes a man, a man. If someone says they are a man, then they are a man. There is no concrete societal definition of what being a man is. The narrow-minded view of manliness that Owens is perpetuating is the only thing that is an actual outright attack. Her reinforcing these oppressive gender expectations will only harm those that are fluid and gender nonconforming.
Instead of seeing shifting attitudes towards gender roles as a bad thing, Owens should accept it for the positive change that it is. It is naive to think that every single person on this earth can fit into the restrictive boxes our world has created for gender. We should want to become a more accepting and loving society, and not one that looks down on people whose gender expression is different from ours.
Harry Styles wearing a dress does not negatively impact anyone.
If anything, it is providing happiness and comfort to the little boys that admire him and are also interested in wearing feminine clothing. Seeing a celebrity as famous as Styles rejecting traditional gender roles can make these children feel supported and understood. Instead of attacking him for it, Owens should be encouraging more of this behavior.
I would argue that if we want our society to survive and improve, we must dismantle toxic masculinity. It directly contributes to homophobia, transphobia, rape culture, sexism, and many other issues. The society that Owens wants to live in where men are supposed to be hyper-masculine is not one that any of us should want.