Why Billy Porter Just Called Out Harry Styles' Vogue Cover

Billy Porter just took a major swipe at Harry Styles' 2020 Vogue cover. As you may recall, Styles made history in November of last year as the first male cover star in the American magazine's history. And, to do so, the English singer wore a custom-made Gucci ball gown, paired with a cropped tuxedo jacket. "Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with," Styles said in the Vogue interview. "What's really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away," he continued. "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." 

Though Styles' historic Vogue cover was largely met with praise, it did ruffle a few feathers, especially in the conservative world. "Bring back manly men," political commentator Candace Owens tweeted at the time, reposting the cover in question. "Since I'm trending I'd like to clarify what I meant when I said 'bring back manly men,'" she added in a later tweet. "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." Styles responded to Owens' criticism on Instagram, posting a picture of himself wearing a pastel blue suit from his Variety cover, along with the caption: "Bring back manly men." 

However, the criticism of the cover hasn't just come from conservatives. Almost one year later, Billy Porter has something to say.

Billy Porter said that Harry Styles 'doesn't care'

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Billy Porter came after Harry Styles' 2020 Vogue cover. In particular, he thinks that Styles shouldn't be credited for putting non-binary fashion on the map. "I. Personally. Changed. The. Whole. Game," the "Pose" star said (via Insider). "And that is not ego, that is just fact. I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it." 

In Porter's opinion, the publication shouldn't have picked someone like Styles to represent gender-fluidity in fashion: "I created the conversation [about non-binary fashion] and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time." Though Porter clarified that he isn't "dragging" Styles, he did question the singer's true intentions. "He doesn't care, he's just doing it because it's the thing to do," the Emmy winner said. "This is my life. I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned now. All he has to do is be white and straight." 

Porter isn't the first person to call Styles out over the issue, either. "It's an issue in terms of who gets to have these transgressive moments," London College of Fashion lecturer Fenella Hitchcock told DAZED in November 2020. "We have cis white men who are celebrated for doing the very things that queer people do in day-to-day life all the time."