Let’s give black men the same recognition as Harry Styles’ gender-breaking Vogue shoot

This isn’t the first instance of relevant celebrities experimenting like this, so why is it that only specific people get media attention for this?

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The lack of equal praise is unfortunate since if people who care about the breaking of gender roles were to see that so many other men in media are doing it, they would reasonably be happy.

Ever since the internet caught hold on a man wearing a dress, everyone is rushing to either call the man in question revolutionary or criticize him for the supposed “lack of masculinity.” The man in question is Harry Styles, and his recent cover shoot for Vogue magazine sparked an unbelievable amount of attention. Gender has been becoming more and more questioned, as people are experimenting with their own gender expression. While this is a good thing, since attention towards toxic masculinity and gendered clothes increased, why is it that this specific occasion of breaking gender expectations garnered attention? This isn’t the first instance of relevant celebrities experimenting like this, so why is it that only specific people get media attention for this?

People forget that Jesus wore a dress! They say it’s robes, but Jesus wore a dress.”

— Billy Porter

There have been many black celebrities who have done similar fashion choices, yet they’re not as spoken about. One person who has specifically been expressive with his relationship with gendered clothes in the past is Billy Porter. He has worn makeup and dresses to many events, showing his interest in fashion and appreciation for breaking gender roles. On A Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Porter discussed his thoughts on dresses and masculinity. “I’ve always been into fashion, and I feel like especially when it comes to gender, we have moved beyond the idea that women wearing pants is a problem. Women wearing pants is strong and powerful, and it is associated with the patriarchy. It’s associated with being male. But the minute a man puts on a dress, it’s disgusting. So what does that say? Men are strong, women are disgusting. I’m not doing that anymore. I’m done with that. I’m a man in a dress, and if I feel like wearing a dress, I’m going to wear one. People forget that Jesus wore a dress! They say it’s robes, but Jesus wore a dress,” says Porter. However, his clothing and fashion haven’t gotten the same praise as Harry Styles. Some other examples are ASAP Rocky, Prince, and Jaden Smith. There have been so many black men that have been breaking gender expression, over longer periods of time than just one Vogue cover. The lack of equal praise is unfortunate since if people who care about the breaking of gender roles were to see that so many other men in media are doing it, they would reasonably be happy. The reason as to why people care is due to the fact that the man in question is Harry Styles. He has a massive fan base on the internet, and he is often crowned “white boy of the month” on Twitter. The racial biases towards him are clear.

However, no one should claim that Harry Styles’ impact hasn’t sparked conversation. “Being manly is not about what u wear. You can wear a suit every day and still not be manly for me. It’s about your personality and what you do in your life. I’d feel myself more in safe next to Harry Styles in dress than trump in suit.if u judge people bc of what they wear,then idk,” says Twitter user @idkmanx_x.

Black celebrities should be given the same level of media attention as Harry Styles has been receiving over the past month. While Styles’ impact is very clear, this was only a cover shoot, where models don’t often choose their own clothes. There is a difference between this and male-identifying people who frequently wear dresses and makeup on a daily basis. It’s great that this conversation has been started, but now, let’s work on continuing it.