no. 39 — Fine Line by Harry Styles

I just spent like an hour writing 1,100 words about my obsessions with the intent on posting it on this blog, but honestly, I don’t know if I’m up for that. My relationship to the things/people I obsess over are fraught, and I haven’t really figured out what the newest ones mean yet. For example, it took me about ten years to understand why I’m so obsessed with Harry Styles.

I have loved Harry Styles since One Direction got big. I watched every single one of their weird vlog diaries, I watched their music videos, and when he went into his solo career, I continued to actively pine over him. Repeatedly I have said that I don’t know if I want to be him or if I want to be with him. The answer is both. I’m obsessed with Harry Styles because his gender expression is exactly what I want mine to be. He’s feminine, but no one doubts that he is a man. He can be masculine without it being a performance while at the same time he is applauded for being feminine. The long and short of it is that I have gender envy, and that’s why I’m in love with him.

Harry Styles is at this juncture where he has the means, support, and freedom to explore his gender expression. Sure, he might get some flack for wearing a dress on a vogue photo shoot, but ultimately, no one questions his gender because of it. And, more importantly, HE doesn’t question his gender about it. Although maybe he does, I don’t know, I’m probably projecting here. In any of the interviews I read, when he talks about his clothing, he says that he is comfortable in his choices. I am not. I constantly worry about how I’m perceived, how much money I can afford to spend on experimenting with what feels good or what looks good, and my body is very much not a shape that would suggest or lend itself to gender fluidity.

So that’s one obsession explained. I’m infatuated with Harry Styles and always have been because of my gender envy. I also love his music. One Direction had fucking bangers, and all of those boys were cute. You cannot deny the power of a good boy band. But ultimately, I think Harry Styles has that kind of rock star quality while being a representative of sensitivity and kindness. He doesn’t really put on an edgy persona, despite the tattoos. He (as far as we know) doesn’t have a peace-loving façade that covers up violent misogyny the way John Lennon[1] and countless other rock stars did/do. He’s progressive. His songs make me cry. He is a youth icon who has grown up with his fan base and somehow kept the same ideals without rocking the boat with large-scale scandals.

I recently got into an argument with a friend about whether Harry Styles was queer baiting to keep up with the times[2]. I said despite that he has only said that he “loves everyone” and hasn’t explicitly defined himself as queer, he’s a vocal enough ally that I believe him to be queer. To say that you love everyone (pansexual maybe? Not really my place to guess but I do anyway), to vocally and monetarily support the LGBTQ+ community with a global following, to me it kind of proves that he walks the walk and talks the talk. I don’t think he would do that just for clout, but honestly who fucking knows. He is taking risks by dressing the way he does and defending it over and over again, but it does gain him points within the queer community, so maybe it is a farce. But also, all gender is a performance, so maybe this is a reductive conversation.

Now, he’s no JoJo Siwa[3], but what I mean to say is that he is the kind of progressive, kind, polite rock star that we can take home to our parents[4]. He doesn’t have to be vulnerable in the way he is. I mean look at Liam Payne, he’s so stuck in his own toxic masculinity[5] that he said he wouldn’t let Harry babysit lest his son come back wearing a dress. Harry could clam up and make the same generic pop songs that don’t rock the boat the way One Direction did. But he hasn’t. And that’s why I continue to love him, even when the gender envy makes my heart hurt.

I appreciate the way Harry sings about relationships, fame, and his general outlook on life. I think his voice is beautiful. I think he’s a great artist. I think he’s very hot. And ultimately, even if there’s room for improvement regarding activism or politics, I think he’s emblematic of where we are as a society. I might eat this post if something comes out and he gets cancelled or something, but honestly, I’m proud to be in love with him. I love every song on Fine Line. His music videos bring me joy. I would very much like to kiss him. Also I would like to wear his skin in as non-creepy a way as possible. Go listen to Fine Line, it’s fucking good. And Harry, if you’re reading this, hit me up. I love you. XOXO Jenna.

[1] Mom, please don’t come for me about John Lennon

[2] Love you, Grace

[3] The new Queen of the Gays! I say we get her to replace Ellen.

[4] Why does it feel disgusting to say this?

[5] Let me just say that I am NOT saying that Harry Styles is breaking gender stereotypes because he wears lace and floral patterns. That’s not what I mean. I mean that he is actively upsetting the norm again and again with his clothing choices. There’s too many examples for this to be a one-off gag for the attention. Flowers and lace does not a gay man make. Or whatever.



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Jenna Sylvester

Jenna Sylvester

non-binary writer and gardener. I'm stressed out.