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Right-Wing Pundits Crying About Harry Styles Wearing a Dress Is a Reflection on Them and Their Need for Attention

Harry Styles at the Met Gala

Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens went tippity tap on Twitter and spewed some nonsense about Harry Styles’ Vogue cover, and now everyone is mad—and rightfully so. We should be mad because both Owens and Shapiro were talking out their asses just to get attention, as usual.

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For context, Harry Styles was the first man to grace the cover of Vogue and did so in a dress. Honestly, this photoshoot is perfection.

But now, people like Owens and Shapiro are babbling on Twitter about how it is ruining the idea of masculinity. First of all, what they’re talking about is their idealized version of toxic masculinity, and go ahead and dismantle that, Harry. In reality, though, they just want to cry and complain about something so people talk about them, and it sadly works because we think tweeting at them will somehow work to change their minds.

They do this constantly. They want to be contrarian because it ends up getting them trending. This time, it just happened to be that they messed with the wrong fandom. Fans of Harry Styles have defended him time and time again because he is, at his core, a good person. All he wants to do is preach kindness and acceptance, so when people like Owens and Shapiro mock him, they’re also … mocking kindness, which I, personally, find hilarious.

But more than Owens and Shapiro wanting attention, their main source of “angst” about the photoshoot is Styles in a dress, which brings me to my main argument: Most rockstars tend to wear clothing deemed “feminine,” and not to be crass, but they don’t seem to have any problems with masculinity, so … maybe Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens don’t know what the f**k they’re talking about.

I think, in their ideological idea of masculinity, men are either Jon Hamm in Mad Men or like Earl from My Name Is Earl. But, looking at rockstars, Prince made a career on bending the idea of gender identity, and even he wasn’t the first. Before him was David Bowie, and I’d even include Mick Jagger on my list of prominent rockstars, but guess what? EVEN THEN there are still so many others who pushed back at the idea of what a man is supposed to be and lived in their own style and what they wanted to be as artists.

My conclusion? Neither of these people care. Their arguments don’t make any sense. They just know that it will get them attention and spark the controversy that keeps their terrible fans hanging on their every word. It will have people up in arms, and it will make them RT their foolishness across the internet. I know, because I did it because I was mad. I love Harry Styles, and I felt offended on his behalf that either of these two felt the need to comment on him at all. But the reality of the situation is that they’re both threatened by the idea of what Harry represents. Someone who is comfortable with himself, who likes to be true to who he is, and who uses his platform to spread happiness and kindness.

Neither Ben Shapiro nor Candace Owens know what kindness or happiness is, and it’s honestly sad. But continually sharing their nonsense and having their names trend is exactly what they want. They want the chaos, they want the outrage, and then they want to act like everyone who’s mad is a “snowflake” or a member of “outrage culture,” because it makes them money.

There are no serious political principles behind it. It’s not even a real discussion or an argument. It’s just a play for attention, and there’s no point engaging with it. I wouldn’t even bother writing about it if both of them didn’t have platforms of millions of fans—already reaching more people than we could hope to overcome by just ignoring them—who need to hear this: This a pretend issue they invented to pander to you for money, and that’s the only conversation about it worth having.

On the other hand, I’d pay good money for both Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens to not tweet, but alas, instead, I’ll just have to make the choice to ignore them and their baiting.

(image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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