From Harry Styles to Jaden Smith: Is pop culture getting more feminine?




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Harry Styles

© Valerie Macon – AFP

“I find myself looking at women’s clothing and loving it,” Harry Styles told Vogue in late 2020. The British singer-songwriter appears in a dress on the cover and increasingly embraces her ‘feminine’ side in her performance. Is this a new phenomenon in pop culture?

The former member of One Direction, who recently performed three times at the Johan Cruijff Arena, seems to be far from the only artist to show less of his macho and more of his feminine side on stage.

‘Can’t be a pigeon’
Styles embraced his ‘feminine’ side thanks to Prince, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury and Elton John, he says in the Vogue interview. Those artists were in turn inspired by American singer and pianist Little Richard. In the 1950s he was already gender non-conforming: his behavior and appearance did not conform to society’s male-female norm, as he wore make-up and women’s clothing in his clips and during performances. “It was clear from the beginning that she couldn’t be put in a box,” says pop culture expert Munis Yavuz. Quick!,

“Prince was someone who gave a shit about it,” she continues. In the 1980s, however, the wayward performer received racist comments and even trash and bottles thrown at her when she performed feminine acts, such as when she opened for The Rolling Stones in Los Angeles. was acting ‘Now we see him as a role model, but it was not always like that.’

The boundaries between male and female are blurring
david bowie was great vanguardYavuz gives as the last example. Along with him, his appearance and music also revolved around being out of line. That has changed now, as can be seen with Harry Styles. Pop culture connoisseurs compare him to Bowie in terms of popularity. ‘He’s such a person (Styles, Ed.) Compared to being on the cover of Vogue with a feminine style of clothing or conforming to a certain type of macho standard selling the halls, I think that says a lot.’

The lines between masculine and feminine are blurring in 21st century pop culture as celebrities such as Harry Styles and actor Jaden Smith explore gender non-conforming fashion and makeup. Janvi Jayarath and Riya Dayma examine the role of pop culture in the growing popularity of gender non-conforming fashion, beauty and makeup ideals. According to him, those three more tend to be gender non-conforming and bisexual: neither male nor female, both male and female, or between male and female.

Partly due to the influence and popularity of celebrities such as Harry Styles, fashion, beauty ideals and makeup are no longer just for women or gay people. Researchers Jayarath and Dayma write: ‘Cisgender, heterosexual men (men who were born male feel like men and are attracted to women, Ed.) choose to have an androgynous appearance, without it being a reflection of their gender identity.’ Styles also notices that the norm is being broken, emphasizing: “Clothes are for fun, experimentation, and play.”

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Clothes, outfit, outfit, pop culture, pop music, Harry Styles, jade smith, David Bowie, Prince, gender, gender neutral, in the same direction, ideal of beauty, the trend, Quick!

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