The 2019 Met Gala, held in New York every year did not disappoint. What many don’t know about the event, is that it’s formally known as the Costume Institute Gala. It also serves as an annual fundraiser.
What it’s more commonly known for are the eccentric costumes worn by celebrities from all walks of entertainment. This year’s gala was different with some boundaries pushed by designers.
Some pretty noticeable envelopes being pushed were in the men’s fashion in terms of costumes. Notably, NFL player Odell Beckham Jr. wore an outfit that set the internet chat boards ablaze. He wore a black outfit that was strikingly similar to a woman’s skirt with cut off sleeves and high top boots.
Predictably, whenever manhood in its typical form is challenged, controversy follows. Many people online were musing about conspiracy theories about the “gay agenda” and other hyperbolic theories. This is not a new concept as Billy Porter already shook up the academy awards with an extravagant outfit, and that was a formal event and attire.
The Met Gala is literally about costumes and creativity. But the internet never fails in putting “a two on the proverbial ten.” This type of controversy had calmed down in recent years, especially since pop star Rihanna sent shockwaves with her costume in 2018. Last year’s Gala had a Roman Catholic theme and Rihanna wore a papal mitre.
Critics on social media called it “blasphemous” and “sacrilegious cosplay” and many people accused the singer of making a mockery of the Catholic church.
So where do we draw the line between costume and fashion etiquette? Or even cosplay? More importantly, how is it that an event meant to explore costume creativity, by celebrities nonetheless, ends up turning into a forum on concepts like “masculinity?”
America should ask itself about the running contradiction of questioning the influence of celebrities and in the same breath puts them under the microscope based on fictional costumes.
Odell Beckham’s masculinity is not on display nor in question. But let the internet tell it, he’s been subject to some sinister experiment and complex plot that has been hatched to emasculate men. All are perfect examples of toxic masculinities reach in pop culture. One could argue that in 2019 it sounds ridiculous to even have debates on these issues, yet here we are.
You also can’t help but wonder what next years Met gala will bring and how many heads in America will explode, again.