Harry Styles is back.
After a brief hiatus, the former One Direction star released “Watermelon Sugar.”
The song is his second single off his Fine Line album. And its video harkens back to a more halcyon time. Recorded in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic, “Watermelon Sugar” features floppy beach hats, breezy beach coifs, and fun in the sun.
All of this would be good and fine if he didn’t announce, at the beginning of the video, that it was dedicated to “touching.”
It’s more than a little bit tone-deaf.
Did you know that humans need to be touched to not only thrive but to survive?
While Harry Styles takes a flippant approach to touch — he’s only 26 years old, after all — scientists have proven that skin hunger is a real thing.
More than 200 years ago, French researchers studied a feral child they dubbed “Victor.” Initially labeling him as an “idiot” for being extremely socially maladjusted, it was later revealed that “Victor” had suffered from a complete lack of human touch. This lack of even basic touching completely stunted his emotional and mental development.
Today, scientists call this affliction “skin hunger.” And studies have proven that “high-touch” cultures (like many European countries) have a significantly lower rate of violence than “low-touch” cultures (like the current pandemic culture we’re in right now).
Taking a hardline approach to what is, essentially, a pop video from Harry Styles seems like much ado about nothing. It’s just a video, after all.
For far too many of us, we want to touch one another…but we can’t. It’s simply too dangerous to do so. This is especially true if the person we’re looking to touch is an “essential worker” or in the healthcare industry.
Yet, we need to be touched to survive . As adults, our immune systems grow weaker if we’re not touched. We lose bonds with other human beings if we’re not touched. We become more aggressive, more depressed, and more anxious if we’re not touched.
While it’s nice that Harry Styles had a beautiful romp on the beach a few months ago, we don’t need a reminder of what we, as humans, are missing right now.