Blurring the gender-binary

Courtney Montalvo, Staff Writer

Harry Styles has released a new gender-fluid beauty product line called ‘‘Pleasing.’’ The singer announced the launch on his social media accounts on Nov. 16. The line includes five items: The Perfect Polish Set, The Perfect Pearl Polish, Pearly Top Polish, The Pleasing Pen and The Pearlescent Illuminating Serum. The products range from $20-65 U.S., made available only on the official ‘‘Pleasing’’ website. It is set to release Nov. 29, though pre-order was made available on Nov. 16. The beauty line hopes to “blur boundaries” through its products and “joyous experiences” which promote gender fluidity for fans and beauty lovers around the world. 

The fashion and beauty industries have been on a gradual shift to becoming more inclusive for all people. Harry Styles has been one of the leading faces of promoting gender fluidity in both industries, breaking the stereotypical gender roles that have been in place for generations. He has been seen wearing skirts, dresses, heels, jewelry, nail polish and makeup in his music videos, photo shoots, concerts, red carpets and events. Though he has gotten a lot of heat for it, he has also received love, support and appreciation for his bold fashion statements. As a leading figure in the entertainment industry, Styles is using his platform to both support and normalize men and women wearing different genres of clothing and accessories to freely express themselves. 

“I think you have to take me for me I am who I am.”

Harry Styles has always preached self-love and has been fairly open with his personal life to fans and media; his songs and music videos represent himself unfiltered for the world to see. Because of his gender-neutral fashion statements, he is often met with people trying to put him in boxes. These people ask questions that usually revolve around his sexual preferences and his atypical fashion choices. Some even go as far as labeling him as a liar because his sexuality and fashion choices don’t align with the traditional views on gender roles. This is where I feel society has hit a wall with our acceptance of the meaning behind gender fluidity. We say that everyone can be themselves and wear what they want, speak how they want and like who they want — free of judgment. We are then met with contradictions when men, for example, Harry Styles, who wears gender-fluid clothing, or Shawn Mendes, who speaks with a ‘feminine’ tone, are bombarded with people saying that they can’t do these things if they aren’t homosexual: instead of being accepted for who they are. They are constantly being put into boxes, which completely destroys the meaning behind gender fluidity that is being promoted by so many. This is why the fashion and beauty industry, and even the entertainment industry as a whole, is a leader in supporting the blurring of boundaries for gender-specific roles. 

In terms of gender fluidity, though we have seen an increase of acceptance to people dressing and living as they wish, the harsh reality is that a large portion of society is still immensely prejudiced. This raises the importance of celebrities, like Styles, who promote the message that it is not wrong to just be yourself. The beauty line signifies much more than the quality and variety of products. It represents the faces of the men, boys and people who think that they can’t be themselves because they will be rejected. It creates a home for people to express themselves and love themselves. ‘‘Pleasing’’ is highly anticipated not only as a beauty line, but also as a symbol for continuing the ongoing battle to fully adopt gender fluidity in fashion and beauty around the world.