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Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran's latest outfits sparked debate about the different expectations we have for men and women

“This photo is very representative of what we expect from men and women at the top of their game.”

IT’S NOT TOO often that we see Ed Sheeran dressing up.

Whether he’s heading to an award show to pick up some new ornaments for his trophy cabinet, or performing on stage during a stadium tour, the 27-year-old is usually dressed like a father of two taking a day trip to IKEA. And that’s fine.

BBC Music Awards - London Source: Ian West

Beyoncé, on the other hand, is rarely seen publicly wearing anything inconspicuous enough to wear to IKEA to pick up a wardrobe. And that’s also fine. That’s a big part of why her fans love her. 

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

We’re so used to looking at Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran individually, that we totally forget the different standards that they’re both held to. Last night, the two of them performed together at the Global Citizen Festival in South Africa and it was immediately clear that neither of them had considered dressing up or down for the occasion to suit one another. 

Ed Sheeran wore a pair of baggy jeans and a British skateboarding company’s t-shirt on stage, while Beyoncé wore a hot pink, puffy dress which would have fit right in at the Met Gala.

You can definitely sympathise with Beyoncé here, because there’s nothing worse than showing up to predrinks in your very best outfit, only to find that everyone else went with jeans and a nice top, but forgot to send you the memo. That’s kinda what this whole thing looks like.

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Now of course, there’s something deeper to consider here, which is the fact that there’s basically no female popstar in the world who could have the same amount of success as Ed Sheeran if they went around in bootcut jeans and check shirts from Penneys half of the time, like he does. There’s no denying that the base level of attractiveness that women have to meet in order to be successful as celebrities is a lot higher than the level that men have to meet.

This photo of Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran was a reminder of that for plenty of people. 

Obviously, Ed Sheeran’s entitled to wear whatever he wants, but maybe Beyoncé’s not. Sure, nobody forced her to wear that dress, but it’s pretty unlikely at this point in her career that we’ll ever see her walking out on stage in jeans and a t shirt, or any outfit that exists solely for the sake of comfort. 

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Kelly Earley

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