In Response to Candace Owens
an op-ed by Julianne Tenorio
On November 14th, Candace Owens, a Black conservative author, tweets in response to Vogue's recent cover of Harry Styles, in which he dons a beautiful dress.
“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.”
Bring back manly men.
That doesn’t sit right with me.
To add to that, Candace posted a 9 minute video few days later on her Instagram to further elaborate on her point, emphasizing the same phrase:
Bring back manly men.
So Candace, I would like to respond to your recent statements.
What defines a manly man to you?
From my perspective, your view of a normal, acceptable man is built on the foundation of stereotypical gender norms that have carried over from the past. Is your perfect image of a man a straight, strictly masculine, tough, big guy who flaunts their strength? Because news flash, our ever-changing society refuses to conform to the gender roles that have plagued us for centuries, and it isn’t new. From Prince to Freddie Mercury to even BTS, it is clear how the concept of “masculinity” is no longer a dominating factor in finding one’s identity, which is a great step forward for us! Your object of offense is no more than an image of a man wearing a dress. You, or practically anyone else, have no right to define what is seen as normal, especially as a woman who wears suits, which stereotypically have been seen as a “masculine” type thing. This same line of thinking even traces back to medieval times when men would wear dresses and other articles of clothing that today would be considered feminine, further proving how gender roles are completely and utterly useless.
Secondly, what makes you think that politics has anything to do with this?
Based on your recent IGTV, I noticed that you stated the “feminization” of men and the overall sort of “gender flips” are caused by the liberal agenda. Because according to you, they want to denounce everything that is seen as normal by‘“shov[ing] [it] down [our] throats.”
You add on about the foolishness of women not needing to rely on men; in your eyes, it's a useless attempt at feminism.
To put it simply: nobody used the idea of breaking gender norms as a weapon to attack others, but rather it is your own blindness and plain ignorance that is causing you to attack yourself. In a book written by Claire Cain Miller titled Many Ways to Be a Girl, but One Way to Be a Boy: The New Gender Rules, she describes a social experiment involving kids from age 10-19. An interesting finding I noticed is that three-quarters of the boys involved felt pressured to be this physically strong and athletic man. In other words, gender norms were what caused them to feel this unnecessary feeling of self-doubt. Nobody can benefit from these stereotypical ideas, which is why they need to be put to an end.
Lastly, I ask, why does whatever someone does with THEIR life so greatly impact yours?
In the end, these types of topics and decisions are honestly quite ridiculous to debate in the first place. What part of someone’s appearance affects you so negatively that you have to speak about it and invalidate their identity? How intolerant are you that celebrities wearing dresses upsets you so much that you find a way to connect it to Marxism?
Again, I pose a similar question: what is normal to you?
You continue to talk about and criticize people’s choices to change their appearance however they’d like.
But in mine, I see it as a demonstration of your close-mindedness and your incapability to accept that people will dress the way they want to, act the way they want to, and still be able to be viewed as valid.
Open your eyes! Stop holding the world back from progressive change! Because in the end, there's really no point pinpointing masculine and feminine qualities, because that stemmed from toxic masculinity and stereotyping. Thankfully, this is something we're now AWARE of!
So guess what Candace, we won’t allow gender norms to control our lives for any longer<3
- Julianne T.
Cover photo source: https://www.vogue.com/article/harry-styles-cover-december-2020