À la Harry Styles. This gorgeous Walterdale Bridge photography session of Carter was so beautiful and magic to create. It was inspired by the infamous Vogue cover of Harry a few years ago, the entire spread filled with photos of him wearing what are seen as traditionally feminine garments.
The cover, unsurprisingly, garnered a lot of negative feedback. People crying about the death of masculinity (‘bring back manly men!’ they sobbed), the gay agenda (despite the fact that Harry isn’t gay – they are obviously the group going door to door, didn’t you know), and entirely ignoring the fact that dresses, heels, the colour pink, and makeup were all traditionally masculine before a societal shift happened. The gendering of clothing is such an odd thing in contemporary society. Seemingly arbitrary, ignoring historical norms, and only being given explicit exceptions. When men choose to wear a skirt or similar garment, only religious or cultural reasons (like kilts for Scottish pride) seem to be accepted.
And to that I can only think to say…
Let men be soft. Let them express emotion and cry and giggle, and feel pretty, and be feminine. Let us remember that clothing has no gender. Let us recognise that every year when we annually cry for mental health awareness, it is preaching the opposite to reinforce strict and unforgiving roles. Let boys be boys – masculine or not.
While the outcry was sparked by something as basic as clothing, it speaks to so much more. Toxic masculinity, cis-het normatively, gender roles and expectations, misogyny… It isn’t just about a dress, it is about all it represents and all the growth we still have to do as a society.
Let all photo sessions be this unique, personal, and true to who you are. Let them all be exactly like this Walterdale Bridge photography session (although – new locations are always accepted and loved). Let them be fearless and joyful and daring. Let them be you.