One of the singer's most vocal critics was conservative commentator Candace Owens, who tweeted, "There is no society that can survive without strong men. The East knows this. In the west, the steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. It is an outright attack. Bring back manly men."
In another tweet, she wrote, "Since I'm trending I'd like to clarify what I meant when I said 'bring back manly men.' I meant: Bring back manly men. Terms like 'toxic masculinity,' were created by toxic females. Real women don't do fake feminism. Sorry I'm not sorry."
On Thursday, Styles appeared to address the criticism when he posted a photo of himself on Instagram from his new Variety photo shoot. Variety named him their Hitmaker of the Year.
"Bring back manly men," he captioned the photo of himself wearing a baby blue suit and eating a banana.
Owens responded shortly after Styles' post -- which already has over 5 million likes -- tweeting, "When people try to tell me I don't have influence, and then @Harry_Styles dedicates an entire post to my tweet. I inspire global conversation. #BringBackManlyMen Shots fired. 😂."
When people try to tell me I don’t have influence, and then @Harry_Styles dedicates an entire post to my tweet.
"When you take away 'There's clothes for men and there's clothes for women,' once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play," he said. "I'll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women's clothes thinking they're amazing."
"It's like anything -- anytime you're putting barriers up in your own life, you're just limiting yourself," he continued. "There's so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I've never really thought too much about what it means -- it just becomes this extended part of creating something."