Is He Gay Or Not: Manchester City Forward Jack Grealish
I, like many others, find great amusement in the lively antics of Jack Grealish from Manchester City. After their triumph in the Champions League, Grealish has been revelling in the celebrations for the past few days, behaving exactly as one would expect from a 27-year-old earning £15 million annually. It’s no wonder he’s having a blast—after all, who can blame him?
Yet, there exists a notable distinction between Grealish and the rowdier football stars of the past, such as Wayne Rooney or Gazza. It lies in their choice of accessories. Grealish has been capturing attention by photographing himself wearing a pearl necklace, while he and his Man City teammates have been seen carrying man bags that bear a striking resemblance to handbags. In fact, in 2021, Grealish was photographed sporting a £1500 Christian Dior ‘crossbody man-bag,’ resembling something that an eccentric aunt might fancy. Furthermore, he became rather protective of his Gucci outfit after winning the FA Cup.
In simple terms, he is adorning himself in a manner traditionally associated with women and attracting considerable attention for it. Grealish, along with other footballers who are regarded as the embodiment of “lad culture,” has embraced the hottest trend of the 21st century—femininity.
This phenomenon is not entirely new, of course. From historical courtiers to dandies to modern-day trendsetter David Beckham, men in the public eye have long exhibited a penchant for showcasing items typically worn by the opposite sex.
However, Grealish’s sartorial androgyny reflects a broader trend of emasculation seen in the 2020s. We currently live in an era where gender fluidity is highly celebrated, and traditional sexual norms are viewed with suspicion.
Last year, fashion magazines proclaimed that tall, dark, and handsome was no longer in vogue, and the “short king spring” had arrived. The internet swooned over “short kings,” referring to men under 5 ft 8 in, with Tom Holland, Joe Jonas, and Daniel Kaluuya serving as prime examples.
The “short king spring” was merely a symptom of a larger trend spearheaded by Generation Z, who celebrate men possessing traits traditionally associated with women. For this generation, kindness reigns supreme, with sensitivity, empathy, and openness being highly valued.
Hyper-masculinity has suddenly become outdated. The cast of Love Island may appear as relics from the 1980s when David Hasselhoff epitomized the ideal man—sexy, strong, and stoic. However, the new generation of Hollywood actors and musicians leans towards a softer and more effeminate aesthetic, as seen in figures like Timothée Chalamet and Andrew Garfield.
While male sports stars are typically known for their size and strength, Grealish demonstrates that they too can embrace this trend. Cristiano Ronaldo is often spotted wearing a large diamond engagement ring on his middle finger.
This current adulation of feminine men stems from a deep-seated desire to reject any semblance of “toxic masculinity.” In Grealish’s case, wearing a pearl necklace could serve as a shield against allegations that his several days of boozing around Europe represent stereotypical boorish male behaviour. Then again, it would be presumptuous to assume that Grealish, famously unaware of what an encyclopedia is, has a conscious understanding of his actions. Nonetheless, whether consciously or unconsciously, he is tapping into something significant.
For years, women in the workplace have been rewarded for embodying male traits. However, in 2023, men who embrace femininity are the true winners. The best-selling male musicians in the UK proudly embrace feminine characteristics, as exemplified by Harry Styles, who became the first solo male to grace the cover of Vogue. Styles adorned himself in a dress for the cover shoot. Olivia Wilde, the actor/director and Styles’ former partner, praised his stylistic choices as a representation of someone who is “truly devoid of any traces of toxic masculinity,” reflecting not only his generation but also the future of the world. High praise indeed for a man in a lacy tulle ensemble.
There is a sense of rebellion and fearlessness that accompanies challenging gender norms and pushing the boundaries of expectations. However, one must question the level of edginess in an act when so many individuals are already doing it.
David Bowie, one of the most influential pop musicians of all time, challenged conventional gender boundaries fifty years ago. During the 1970s and 1980s, this was remarkably provocative and counter-cultural. Today, cross-dressing has become so commonplace that it has lost its shock value. The trend has become mundane when even footballers partake in it.