I tune into award shows like the Grammys or Oscars for two reasons: the first is (as of last week) to see if someone will get slapped; the second is the fashion.
Most of the time, the looks don’t disappoint. After all, celebrities are literally styled and paid to look perfect. And then, there are the men.
Specifically looking at this year’s red carpet, Justin Bieber sported, err, quite a look. Alongside his wife, supermodel Hailey Bieber—who was dressed like a literal Greek goddess—Justin for whatever reason went for an enormous suit jacket, a pink beanie, and truly tragic boots. He later swapped outfits for his performance of his song “Peaches” during the awards show, and the leather pants were a minor improvement. Despite that, there’s no coming back from dressing like a toddler trying on their parent’s clothes.
That male celebrities are often so badly dressed is generally pretty comical—Justin’s look has already spawned no shortage of pleasant Twitter memes. Yet men’s fashion, or lack thereof, also speaks to the same old frustrating, gendered double standards that pervade nearly every industry and require women—but not men—to put actual effort into their appearances.
Consider this iconic photo of Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran performing together in 2018. The photo went viral for reflecting how high the bar is for women—and not just female entertainers and performers, but in general—to be seen as presentable, compared with the nonexistent standards that exist for men.
For everyday non-millionaire women, you’ll note these double standards come with particularly cumbersome costs, like the notorious pink tax that makes women’s grooming products, haircuts, and clothes infinitely more expensive than men’s. Believe it or not, intense cultural pressure to look good costs actual money!!!
Though, as much as it pains me to write these words, not all men are Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran. Timothee Chalamet really brought it with his whole sequined-blazer-with-no-shirt deal last week. Lil Nas X constantly gives us his everything with both his red carpet and on-stage fashion. And female celebs have been pushing back on gendered expectations for how they should dress, too: Seven-time Grammy-award winning artist Billie Eillish has spoken openly about her decision to wear baggy clothing to shield herself from the usual sexist and obsessive media commentary on women’s bodies.
In conclusion, let women wear whatever they want!! And please join me in publicly shaming rich, male celebrities into putting even an ounce of effort into what they wear in public—and certainly at award shows.