The latest fashion trend in communities seems to be banning saggy pants.
The Fort Worth City Council, along with a handful of other city councils, is looking for ways to get young people to pull their pants up.
Because actually banning saggy pants could be considered a violation of people’s first amendment rights, city councils have been unsuccessful in creating city ordinances that ban saggy pants, according to a Dallas Morning News article.
Instead of passing an ordinance, the city of Fort Worth is promoting a campaign called “Pull ‘Em Up.” Mayor Mike Moncrief said in a September Morning News article that Fort Worth has participated in the campaign since at least January.
The campaign may soon be expanded to include bumper stickers on city vehicles and signs in places like schools and Six Flags Over Texas, where young people are likely to see the cries for help.
Fort Worth is not the only city interested in this sort of action. Atlanta, Cleveland, Riviera Beach, Florida, and Dallas have all looked into banning saggy pants.
On Aug. 10, 2007, Lafourche Parish, La., banned the public display of undergarments, targeted at people wearing their pants so low that their underwear was displayed. The new law was enacted under the parish’s public indecency laws. Violating this law will cost up to $500 in fines or up to a six-month prison sentence.
One NPR story reports that the problem is not only among teenagers. The trend is also seen among people in their 30s.
“This is not just a teenage problem,” said Deputy Mayor Dwaine Caraway of Dallas in the NPR story. “There are people sagging …in their 30s. You know, where’s your mind? You’re not a teenager.”
With clothes the way they are these days, it seems literally impossible for this recent ban in Louisiana to last. It also seems far-fetched for any bans to ever happen anywhere successfully because people have the right to wear whatever they want.
An NPR story reports that a rapper in the Dallas area is joining the campaign. Dewayne Brown has already written a rap song called “Pull Your Pants Up.” Along with his new rap, Brown will also be seen around Dallas on billboards with the slogan, “Pull your pants up. It’s rude, not cool…Walkin’ around showin’ your behind to other dudes.” Clear Channel has agreed to donate the billboards for the campaign.
Brown said in the NPR story that kids don’t know where sagging comes from, they just think it is a fad. He said the trend really comes from prisoners and another word for saggin’ is jailin’.
The trend that has supposedly come from prisoners with too big of pants and no belt to hold them up is the exact reason that Fort Worth City Council member Frank Moss is trying to get Fort Worth on board with the campaign. He said in a Morning News story that the goal of the campaign is to teach kids it is unprofessional to wear their pants so low. Moss said sagging pants will make it harder for people to get jobs and cause them to come across as troublemakers.
I think it is a personal fashion decision to wear saggy pants. People wear what makes them feel their best, and if wearing saggy pants gives someone confidence and makes him or her feel like themselves, then I think they should do it.
While saggy pants do show off most of the wearer’s underwear, at least there is no skin showing. Their bodies are sufficiently covered and amazingly enough, I have never seen anyone’s pants actually fall off before! It is an amazing phenomenon that somehow defies gravity.
I think if the City Council is going to come down on men wearing saggy pants, which is what the campaign is primarily geared toward, there should be a limit on how low women can wear their pants.
Women’s and girl’s jeans have gone from waist rise to super low rise, which does not leave much to the imagination. I know we’ve all seen it; the girl who bends down and her entire crack is showing along with her underwear. Low rise pants just don’t have enough fabric to cover everything up.
So while I do not think the City Council has the right to tell someone how to wear their pants, I think that if they are going to target one group, they should target everybody.
Michelle Anderson is a senior broadcast journalism major from Tyler.