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Let’s not get crazy. Harry Styles didn’t break any gender norms by bathing in dirty pink water.

On Thursday, after the announcement of Harry Styles’ self-titled debut album, ‘LGBTeens Magazine‘ published a bizarre article titled

“HARRY STYLES SHATTERS GENDER NORMS WITH THE ANNOUNCE OF HIS SOLO ALBUM.”

I saw it appear on my Twitter feed and clicked. Of course, I’d like to see how a male ‘popstar’ is breaking gender norms this week. What had Harry done to set himself apart from his contemporaries like The 1975,  Olly Alexander and Troye Sivan, or the classic gender-role-breakers David Bowie and George Michael?

Well according to this article Harry is pictured “in a (sic) pastel pink cloudy water with flowers to give off a soft image.” Okay then.

This particularly wild paragraph followed, “the feeling of the aesthetic that Styles went for is—stereotypically—feminine, sending soft, delicate vibes instead of a strong masculinity feel. Not only is he standing out in the charts by bringing 70s rock-pop ballads back, but he’s shattering gender norms by showing men can be just as delicate and soft as women are typically represented as. Men can be more “feminine”, too, and it’s perfectly okay.”

Oh okay.

I criticised this on Twitter (where the article had thousands of retweets gaining Harry even more praise for an incredible amount of nothingness” and somebody argued that “Contextually though it’s important like of all people it’s harry styles which changes the way it’s perceived.” Which firstly, took me a few reads to comprehend and secondly, is just a huge reach. Contextually, Harry is a former boyband member and being a member of a boyband doesn’t exactly accompany a particularly hypermasculine image in the first place. So exactly what gender roles was Mr Styles “shattering,” you ask? Well. I’d love to know and I’d love somebody who’s not a delusional stan, looking to do the absolute most, to tell me.

Now I don’t mean to come for the author of this piece. I guess she’s young and a big fan, this often leads to some delusion. I know, I’ve been there, but when I write something like this I back it up with evidence. This dirty bath water littered with flowers is not evidence.

Of course, this article is a part of a wider issue which is: when are we going to stop rewarding these guys for doing the absolute bare minimum?

I’m not saying Harry has anything to do with this or that it was his intention. Bathe in all the dirty flood water you want, what I’m saying is that this madness needs to stop. Becky G didn’t just shatter heteronormativity in film by being “the first gay superhero” in Power Rangers. There was half a line that maybe, could have alluded to her character maybe being queer. That was it.

There are many other examples of this too, and when celebrities like Jaden Smith and our non-binary friends ‘IRL’ are really out there “shattering gender norms” it’s just a bit cray to be praising such mediocrity to this extent.

Goodness me, I just took the ranting bit out of my author bio on here. Maybe it’s time to put it back in.


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