In an interview with Rolling Stone about his forthcoming film My Policeman, Harry Styles has once again dodged answering a question about his sexuality. This seemingly deliberate swerving away from clarity around his private life has made Styles the target of fans accusing him of alleged queerbaiting, a marketing technique capitalising on the insinuation that someone may be gay when they’re in fact not.
But does it actually matter if Styles is gay, or bi, or not? No. Does the general public need to know what goes on in his private life? Also, no. The former One Direction member doesn’t owe anyone an explanation of what they do in their bedroom when no one is looking. Or explain who they date.
Styles has practically built a career out of catering to the fantasies of both women and men. Deliberately ambiguous, playing at the borders. This isn’t groundbreaking. Musicians have fed the fantasies of their fans for as long as music videos have existed.
Perhaps the blame lies in the hands of the media outlets that know a good headline will ensure readers will flock to their story. You’re reading this now, aren’t you?
In fact, therein lies the crux: journalists will ask questions that they know the public will want to read. Either to inform or outrage, depending on your angle.
Styles answering or not answering, depending on your point of view, is a matter for him. Anyone who has grown up gay themselves will know firsthand what it’s like to be asked that question when you don’t want to give the answer.
his stans calling grindr homophobic 😭 pic.twitter.com/9f7e7hUeIZ
— i dont have a name (@s4lemfrmrm) August 22, 2022
To those who would argue that Styles is a role model, whether it’s studio execs or hopeful journalists – please. The dude’s a singer. That’s it. He does photoshoots where stylists put him in dresses. So has Iggy Pop. So did Kurt Cobain and his Nirvana band members. Call me cynical but there’s plenty of other professions that carry the reality of being a role model more than someone who knows how to carry a tune.
To be fair, he dug his own hole (lol, pun) with his comments about how gay sex should and shouldn’t be depicted. But is that enough to demand he out himself? Have we forgotten the Rebel Wilson saga so quickly?
Perhaps the most telling moment of the whole article was the suggestion that Styles watched gay porn for research. I reckon he’s a Sean Cody fan.