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Ben Shapiro gets roasted after attacking the masculinity of Harry Styles in a dress

Ben Shapiro gets roasted after attacking the masculinity of Harry Styles in a dress

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While they certainly don’t deserve your sympathy because of it, it must be truly exhausting being a conservative sometimes. Not only do you have to come up with increasingly absurd ways to defend the truly indefensible behavior of Donald Trump, you have to constantly feign outrage over the most inane cultural issues. The latest target of this collective Republican ire is pop superstar Harry Styles.

In a new issue of Vogue, Styles boldly posed in high-fashion sartorial creations including a frilly dress. Rather than simply ignoring the photographs or perhaps exercising the good artistic sense to see them as the playful and harmless gender-challenging experimentation they are, conservatives encountered the photographs and promptly lost their minds.

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Candace Owens, one of the right’s most consistently bad faith talking heads, retweeted the images and said that society cannot “survive without strong men” and claimed that a “steady feminization” of Western men is weakening our civilization. The incredibly joyless take implicitly asserts that Styles is not “strong,” a ridiculous thing to say about an incredibly successful, critically acclaimed artist with the confidence to buck gender expectations. Her broader point about a conspiracy to weaken the west is so blatantly paranoid and unhinged as to be unworthy of honest engagement.

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Ben Shapiro, one of the most prominent Republican voices on the internet and a reliable peddler of rubbish, retweeted Owens’s abysmal message and said that there is a “referendum on masculinity” and that denying it makes you a “full-on idiot.”

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Using such apocalyptic language to talk about a few photographs in a fashion magazine would have once been the kind of thing that got one roundly mocked and dismissed as an unserious thinker, but the conservative movement has become so infected with conspiratorial thinking that it’s now commonplace.

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Shapiro was apparently so incensed at the photos that he unleashed a lengthy Twitter thread on the topic to rant about “masculinity and feminity.” The great irony is that the diminutive, reedy-voiced Shapiro is the furthest thing from the Conan the Barbarian parody version of masculinity he advocates. If this is what he truly believes he should spend less time whining about other men online and more time at the gym.

Predictably, Twitter was quick to swarm Shapiro with some well-deserved ridicule.

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