The former One Direction singer, who posed for the December cover of Vogue US in androgynous attire, including a dress, shared a picture of himself to Instagram with the caption: “bring back manly men", alongside a picture of him in a feminine light blue ruffled suit.
Styles is eating his trademark banana in the picture, wearing a Palomo suit with netted pleats extending from the arms and the bottom of it, bringing a comedy element to the image.
The comment appeared to be a response to one of Styles’ fiercest critics, US conservative commentator Candice Owens.
“There is no society that can survive without strong men,” tweeted Owens. “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," said the commentator of Style’s shoot.
“Bring back manly men,” she added – a statement that Styles used in his Instagram caption, when posting a picture of himself on Wednesday.
His Vogue shoot gave a sartorial nod to style icons David Bowie, Boy George and Prince, with gender fluid styles including a lace-trimmed dress by Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, a kilt from Comme des Garcons Homme, plus a Wales Bonner skirt.
While many praised the shoot, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who said it “looks bomb”, a swathe of the general public were critical of the shoot – including Piers Morgan, who said Styles in a dress was “weird”.
Hordes of Styles’ fans came to his defence and tweeted Owens, who doubled down on her comment about manly men:
“Since I'm trending I'd like to clarify what I meant when I said 'bring back manly men,'" she tweeted. "I meant: Bring back manly men. Terms like 'toxic masculinity,' were created by toxic females. Real women don't do fake feminism. Sorry I'm not sorry."
In the feature accompanying the recent shoot by photographer Tyler Mitchell, Styles said: “There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never thought too much about what it means—it just becomes this extended part of creating something."
Harry Styles has become the first solo man to feature on the cover of Vogue in its 127-year history.