How ASOS’s Men’s Chokers Caused A Gender Uproar

by Callie Little

In 2017, fashion accessories really shouldn’t be at the top of our list of things to be tweeting about and yet, here we are. Yes, everyone, stop worrying about climate change, and our impending *gag* inauguration –– we’ve got bigger fish to fry: Men’s choker necklaces are causing an uproar on social media.

Of course.

It may be 2017, but we, as a culture, are clinging desperately to the two-option, heavily gendered mindset of the early ’00s, the ’90s, ’80s–– you know, the same tired, outdated schtick we’ve been stuck on for as long as anyone can remember.

The chic, UK-based fashion brand ASOS (an acronym for As Seen On Screen) has released a new line of necklaces designed specifically for men’s necks. In choker, lariat, and collar (not pictured) styles, these accessories are not so different from their line of standard men’s necklaces (which are receiving no press), and yet are stirring up controversy within the Twittersphere and beyond.

While some (cough TRANSPHOBIC cough) tweets like this one (since deleted) aren’t creating many waves with only 25 likes:

Not only has asos started selling male chokers , Mac have started a collaboration with Bruce Jenner, 4 days into 2017 n it’s no looking good

Others, often in a show of blazing insecurity, are getting a massive response. This tweet has received over 14,000 favorites:

Screen Shot 2017 01 13 at 12.02.53 PM

…But not everybody’s a fan of the gender paradigm garbage.


Policing styles we deem as “feminine” (even though everybody has a neck and SPOILER: femininity does not dictate the amount of effort you are supposed to put into your look –– just do you!) illustrates how toxic masculinity exists in spaces where the feminine is considered less than; if femininity is somehow bad, men wearing anything a feminine person might wear is considered offensive. If we view the masculine and the feminine as two equal points on a wiggly sort of constellation-spectrum-hybrid, neither is bad, neither is somehow good: they are just two little bits that make up a portion of a whole person.

Imagine that: not being defined as a human being by what kind of clothes you wear. Wild! Take it a step further and imagine defining ourselves by more than our reproductive organs!

Serious matters such as fabric neck accessories offer us a few options. We can purchase them, decide they don’t matter and move on, or (obviously, this is the only other choice) vehemently deny that we’d ever even consider such a throat strap at all appropriate and god help you if you think it’s okay! Because ew! And GROSS! Because masculinity is STRONG and chokers are WEAK. So weak, in fact, we must take to Twitter to express our absolute rejection of this fashion statement and revel in the fact that our masculinity is so steely it could never be shaken by something as flimsy and inconsequential as a choker.

May 2017 be the year the choker does indeed, as @stripedstees brilliantly put it, strangle fragile masculinity to death.

Top photo via ASOS

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