“Choker” Does Not Mean “Choke-Her”

“Choker” Does Not Mean “Choke-Her”

Because that fashionable and malleable material stretched thin across our necks does not insinuate anything.
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Two weeks ago, I decided to go to a local fireworks show with my boyfriend. The place was crawling with teenagers, the thick summer air made my eyelids feel rather heavy, and game stands accompanied food trucks with lines seemingly longer than the Great Wall of China. We were standing in an overly-crowded parking lot as we awaited the fireworks to run streaks of colorful glitter across the night sky. A group of high school-aged girls stood next to us, all wearing trendy outfits with their phones glued directly to their fingertips. Two boys mingled with their group. Out of pure curiosity of analyzing youth, I managed to survey them out of the corner of my eye. Those boys looked at the girls like they were nothing more than a good meal. I quietly observed as one of the boys nudged the another, his eyes summing up one of the girls—who was coincidentally wearing a cute little choker. His eyes took their sweet time wandering to the base of her neck.

“Ah dude, look at that. She’s totally asking for it. I’ll have a lot of fun with her and that thing around her neck tonight.”

I was floored. Although he said it as a whisper to his friend, I was close enough to hear every word he muttered. I had never given much thought to chokers before this specific moment, but suddenly, a young man summing up a girl and her “sexual” desires based solely on the thin piece of fabric secured around her neck made me put this expressive form of an accessory into question.

Instinctively, my hand reached up to grab the choker around my own neck and my face hardened with internal rage.

That boy assumed wearing a choker meant she wanted rough-sex.

It’s a necklace. An accessory. It’s something females (or males) tend wear that is merely meant to display a sense of individualism and self-pride. But for some reason unbeknownst to me, a choker has now morphed and is viewed as an object that “insinuates something inappropriate to men”. So to provide my visceral reaction to the aforesaid statement: I am appalled that a man’s mind can completely wander when he sees a woman sporting a choker. A woman does NOT wear a choker or any other kind of seemingly “provocatively insinuating” garment to show anything other than it’s something SHE wants to wear. Even though I’ve never personally met the young girl wearing the choker and I can’t say for certain that she didn’t want rough-sex, I’d bet money on the fact that if she is anything like me or the rest of the female population, then she was wearing her choker as a fashion statement and not as a sign to boys that she’s an easy hook-up that occasionally likes to be choked. My blood boils at the thought of men hungrily staring at anything a girl is wearing, and then naturally assuming that “she’s asking for it.” Be it a choker, stilettos, heavier makeup, a clingy tube-top, deep V-neck shirts, or daisy-dukes—a woman goes out wearing what she wants, and not for the sake of what others desire to see her in. We put on our clothes and accessories in the morning with the full intention of wearing them for our own damn selves; because we wear what makes us feel good.

There have been times when I’ve heard about rape cases that went by without much thought or concern because the victimized woman was wearing something too revealing at the time and her lack of clothes was somehow indicative of her “asking for it to happen.” Sure, that makes total sense—a woman wears something risqué, so therefore she has the intention of getting raped. How can anyone defend such a moronic statement? How can anyone be so cruel as to judge another human being for what they are wearing, and then stake the claim that her attire was her way of virtually asking to be assaulted and/or raped?

There is so much constant pressure on women to look good in whatever they wear, at all times. We are not perfect muses, and nor should the things we put on our bodies somehow define us as anything other than individuals seeking our own versions of comfort in our chosen lifestyles. But now something as measly as a choker is grabbing an unwarranted kind of attention. As women, we should not and shall not stop wearing what we decide to, because we don’t dress to appease anyone but ourselves. And when it comes to chokers, we’ll continue to wear them for the trend. Mini history lesson: During the French Revolution in 1798, women took to wearing red ribbons around their necks (much like the modern-day version of chokers) in order to pay homage to those who faced their impeding death at the hand of the guillotine. So boys, we mustn’t forget that history has a tendency of repeating itself. If you keep making statements like these, then perhaps you’ll give us women a real reason to wear our chokers.

As the fireworks began to explode and fade in the sky above, the boy went over and hung his ape-like arm around the girl’s tiny shoulders. But she shrugged him off and slipped away so she could stand with her friends. I smiled. So much for his bright idea.

With love, by Ari.

Cover Image Credit: Ariana Carpentieri

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Poetry On Odyssey: I was I am

A poem for those struggling with who they were.

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it seems almost like a page

in someone else's book now


how there was

a time that i thought

i could have been happy

with someone like you


a million years before

i knew who i was

and that i should mean so much more

than i ever did to you


i almost can't remember

the way you held your elbows or

the way you said the letter o or

the way you told me goodnight


it seems now

that all i can recall

are my relentless tears and

the fear that this was the love

that everyone spoke about


the fear that this

was what id have to live with

for the rest of my life


i remember those late nights

just you and i

you always got what you wanted

i was always too afraid to upset you

looking back i wonder why

i couldnt leave you then


but you kept me

my misery maintained until

i felt like nothing


that night was the record scratch

When I knew my life

Shouldn't be like this.


It wasn't until I finally broke our ties

That I started to remember

Who I am.

But my mind is clear now.

I can remember

How strong I am,

How perfectly happy I am

On my own.


It seems almost like a page

In someone else's book now.


You're finally fading away.

I just wish my scars could fade as quickly.

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