People pretend that the past years never happened. Harry had the WORST image. For 5 years! Most papped, most stalked, most spoken about and most importantly: They sexualised him and put that horrible image on him which he and his family got confronted at an age of 16!!!! on every magazine cover, celeb news outlet, sometimes even in IV or in front of him (&Louis) directly. I get being frustrated but additional to the above, he laid low for 9 months & it's 'just' a magazine. Nothing more.
Yeah, I think it’s complicated to untangle. Harry’s image has sucked but the worst part about it has been that he hated it. I know it isn’t a popular opinion but I think @dogsliampaynedoesntinstagram has been making a good point that a “womanizer” image isn’t stigmatized for a man. Unfortunately, society eats that crap up. What’s been awful is that Harry has always, always been better than that kind of base publicity and done what he could to undermine it. He tried to bring substance and integrity to what he does and people would not listen because sex and scandal are such an easy sell and what his team was always happy to push. He’s tried to get people to see him and they’ve picked the Harry Styles™ he was marketed to be. That’s got to be so discouraging and hurtful. My hope with his instagram blank space before this interview is that he’s finally going to get the chance to start sloughing that off entirely and be proud of the image he’s being sold under.
At the same time, I think it’s fair that people are talking about their images at present and not calling back on the past five years every time. I don’t blame people who are deeply upset about the disparity of their images, it sucks. I don’t intend at all to pit them against each other but just looking at it, it’s drastic. Harry’s image still needs cleaning and shifting for sure but I think he’s already on a good track. He took Dunkirk, a huge opportunity for anyone and a project that’s going to give him credibility and exposure and once we know Syco isn’t underfoot to be tripping him up, I think he’ll have no trouble lining up interviews and press that allow him to express more of who he is (though he’s always going to be some persona of Harry Styles™ and we have some big reveals left if he wants to get closer to his personal self). His press has been cheap and low but the name it’s got him gives him the power to turn it more easily now. It’s going to take time and probably it will frustratingly linger because, as said, people eat that crap up but I think we’re starting to feel the wind change.
Meanwhile, Louis’ position is just… awful. He’s trapped under this huge lie that we’re still not sure how they’re going to end. He’s got Simon Cowell tying him to his apron strings and not letting him get any public projects beyond shilling for Syco’s vested interests. Everything about his press is crass, beneath him, something that could be a stumbling block for the projects he really wants. Less than two weeks ago, he had a huge volley making him out to be a homophobe and he isn’t in the position to refute it. Just looking at their position now… it’s a slap in the face to see the Huffington Post UK doing a loving tribute to “hairgate” while Huffington Post US is putting up BS 1.0 and reaching out to Louis for comment for blocking “Larry” while his hands remain tied. I don’t think Louis is without plans or opportunities he’s working on but we’re just talking about what we can see and his public image is this pit of numbness and sadness and anger in the middle of fandom.
So yes, I don’t like to see people channel their frustration onto Harry. This isn’t on him, it’s on Simon Cowell strapping Louis down at every opportunity, for as long as he possibly can. It especially is a discredit to Louis and Harry as team that have fought through so much together. I do my best to separate out my feelings about Louis’ situation and enjoy the moves that Harry is getting to make now. He deserves so much to open his wings. And I do personally think Harry’s been trying to lay as low as possible for nine months and not draw the spotlight on him. This interview is the first time he’s really stepping out to use his voice and I think that change is what’s causing an emotional upheaval for people right now. It’s not the cover itself. I’m hoping that it’s going to be something really positive for him and I’m thrilled by the idea that he’s getting to chose meaningful work. And I do hope the fact that Harry is coming forward now means that we’re close to a period of change for everyone. But at the same time, I understand that some people find harder to set aside Louis’ situation. It’s something I have to work to do. It’s an emotional subject and on top of that, their team has spent years laying the groundwork to tie people in knots when it comes to thinking about Harry’s potential solo career (something which the press is only too happy to continue with this).