Harry Styles Clapped Back at Candace Owens’ ‘Manly Men’ Comment in the Best Way

Harry Styles is going to continue wearing whatever he wants. In a cover interview for Variety’s Hitmakers issue, the 26-year-old star responded to criticism from conservative pundit Candace Owens who said his wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue was an attack on masculinity. (It’s not.)

Harry Styles attends The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020 in London, England | Joe Maher/Getty Images for Bauer Media
Harry Styles attends The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020 in London, England | Joe Maher/Getty Images for Bauer Media

Harry Styles was the first male solo star on the cover of Vogue

Styles’ November 2020 Vogue cover was an historic first for the outlet, as he was the first male solo artist to be the cover star. His wardrobe garnered lots of attention when the photos from the cover shoot were released because he wore a variety of skirts and dresses.

It’s far from the first time a man has worn a dress in a photo shoot. For example, rapper Young Thug wore a blue ruffled dress for the cover of his 2016 mixtape No, My Name Is Jeffery, and Brad Pitt wore a dress on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1999. Styles’ fashion aesthetic has always had a feminine flare to it—a style he has always defended. And his style is reminiscent of David Bowie and Prince.

Still, Owens attacked the Grammy nominee’s cover, saying it was “an outright attack” on masculinity. (Again, it’s not.)

“There is no society that can survive without strong men,” she tweeted. “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.”

Fellow conservative pundit Ben Shapiro echoed Owens’ sentiment, saying the attack on masculinity was obvious.

“This is perfectly obvious,” he tweeted. “Anyone who pretends that it is not a referendum on masculinity for men to don floofy dresses is treating you as a full-on idiot.”

Just to be clear, men can wear whatever they want. Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s move on to Styles’ response to Owens.

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Styles responded to Owens’ tweets on Instagram

On Dec. 2, Styles was revealed as Variety’s hitmaker of the year. The cover photo for the magazine shows the “Watermelon Sugar” singer eating a banana while wearing a baby blue suit with white a white, ruffled shirt underneath. For his caption, he directly quoted his critics.

“Bring back manly men,” the star wrote. The post received over one million likes in less than one hour, and his fans lauded him in the comments for replying to the criticism.

“A real man will eat a banana and make direct eye contact with you,” quipped Derek Blasberg, Head of Fashion and Beauty at YouTube.

“Checkmate,” wrote Alok, a gender non-conforming writer and performance artist who advocates for de-gendering fashion, among other things.

Styles further responded to the flack from Owens in his interview with Variety.

“To not wear [something] because it’s females’ clothing, you shut out a whole world of great clothes,” he said. “And I think what’s exciting about right now is you can wear what you like. It doesn’t have to be X or Y. Those lines are becoming more and more blurred.”

Styles, and literally everyone else in the world (including critics of his fashion choices), can wear whatever they want, whenever they want. And that’s that on that.