Last month, American Vogue revealed that the “Watermelon Sugar” singer was its December cover model — the first man to have the cover to himself in the magazine’s 127-year history. Styles appears on the cover of the iconic magazine blowing up a balloon while wearing a floor-length Gucci gown paired with a tuxedo jacket.
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) November 13, 2020
In the accompanying cover story, Styles said that he finds women’s clothes “amazing” and feels that putting yourself in a gender-normative box is limiting.
“When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play,” Styles told Vogue.
He added: “There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never really thought too much about what it means — it just becomes this extended part of creating something.”
And although many loved that Styles snubbed normative gender expression on the cover of such an influential fashion magazine, some — including Owens — critiqued the singer’s embrace of gender-fluid fashion.
The right-wing author and commenter — known for downplaying Hitler’s genocide and claiming that the GOP’s “Southern strategy” was a myth — argued on Twitter that Styles was indicative of the “steady feminization of our men,” adding, “Bring back manly men.”
There is no society that can survive without strong men. 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. https://t.co/sY4IJF7VkK
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) November 14, 2020
A deluge of fans and celebrities came to Styles’ defense.
Also... this was at one time considered very manly. Wigs, make up, tights, frills... maybe this is the comeback of the “manly man.” pic.twitter.com/8dvSRGYj4w
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) November 16, 2020
Our whole lives boys and men are told we need to be manly. Life is short. Be whatever the fuck you want to be. pic.twitter.com/oY6ji3tpaI
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) November 16, 2020
And on Wednesday, Styles decided to finally respond to Owens with a heaping of pure shade.
“Bring back manly men,” the musician captioned a photo of himself wearing a pastel outfit with a fitted waist ... while very suggestively eating a banana.
Being that Styles fed a notorious troll, Owens trolled Styles right back for his post. On Twitter, she noted that the star had “dedicated an entire post to my tweet” and suggested that her hate speech sparked a “global conversation.”
When people try to tell me I don’t have influence, and then @Harry_Styles dedicates an entire post to my tweet.
I inspire global conversation. #BringBackManlyMen
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) December 2, 2020
The Fox News contributor also posted a photo of Styles in costume for the 2017 film “Dunkirk” and accompanied it with the hashtag #BBMM (which stands for Bring Back Manly Men).
The LGBTQ community and its supporters responded to Owen’s tweets, pointing out that her remarks — fueled by her level of visibility — are harmful and potentially violent. Advocates also flooded the hashtag #BBMM with posts that pointed out flaws in Owens’ logic.
— Elsewhere ACNH (@AcnhElsewhere) December 2, 2020
— braveygravy (@braveygravy) December 2, 2020
In response to the criticism, Owens argued that the left was trying to claim her words and flip them into something more severe than she felt they were.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) December 2, 2020
She went on to argue that Styles and “Hollywood is no longer about diversity, it’s about perversity.”
She added: “I speak for people who do not worship perversity.”
Owens also went so far as to classify the backlash she was receiving as “heterophobia” and was the “reason straight men all across the world are dying.”
To read Twitter users’ response to that statement, just scroll down.
still no, but who’s going to tell candace owens that heterophobia does not exist and that straight people are not dying for being straight
— Did harry styles tweet today? (@harry_did) December 2, 2020
Candace Owens is now claiming that "heterophobia" is killing men across the world… as a heterosexual man - I can affirmatively state I've never even been discriminated against, let alone killed
— William LeGate 🇺🇸 (@williamlegate) December 2, 2020
they don't exist
— sparkles (@rylandcoffee) December 2, 2020
Until you’ve been spit at & called slurs for being straight, until you fear holding your partners hand in public, until you step out of your house fearing hate crime bc of who you are. You cannot insist heterophobia exists. That’s belittling to the experiences of LGBTQ+ ppl.
— King Kristina👑 (@KristinaMaione) December 2, 2020
weird cuz when i write homophobia it doesn’t take it as wrong but when i write heterophobia some red dots appear??? pic.twitter.com/mzof0ilzzi
— fani ◟̽◞̽ᴴbuzz buzz (@cryinglikeaf0ol) December 2, 2020
heterophobia is so real.. i always get screamed at in the streets for holding hands with my girlfriend. on top of that, we can’t even get married. these twitter snowflakes make being hetero so scary in the real world. we are made fun of DAILY, please stop this it hurts
— Sam Collins (@itsSamCollins) December 2, 2020
heterophobia? Heterophobia???!!! Candace GIRL GET OFF THIS APP
— livevamaria (@EvaNoblezada) December 2, 2020
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.