Photo courtesy of Getty Images of boys sagging their pants.

Pants Down, Hands Up: Police Crack Down on Sagging

Hip hop’s influence on modern culture spans a multitude of mediums, particularly the field of fashion. The choice to emulate one’s favorite figure in pop culture has been around for generations. So when rappers decide to let their pants hang low, fans take notice and follow suit. However, in recent years, many legislatures in the South have attacked the trend, deeming it against the law to sag one’s pants.

The most recent city to file an ordinance banning the sagging of pants is Pikesville, Tennessee. City officials unanimously voted for the injunction, claiming “there is evidence that indicates that wearing sagging pants is injurious to the health of the wearer.”

Photo from the NY Times of a man sagging his pants.
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Pikesville’s law will be enforced as follows: Anyone who wears pants more than three inches below the hips shall be fined for public indecency. Violators will have to pay a fine of $25 for the first offense and $50 for each thereafter.

The possible threat of injury is a feasible argument, but Pikesville’s mayor, Phil Cagle, aired out his true feelings on the matter: “All I know is we just don’t want them running around half-naked on our streets. That’s the bottom line.”

Cagle isn’t the only representative reproachful of the fad; places like Opa Locka, Florida and parrishes throughout Louisiana are also prohibiting pants hanging below the extremities. Delcambre, LA imposes a $500 fine or up to a six-month prison sentence for violation of the law.

$500 is enough to buy yourself five pairs of quality denim— the thought is absolutely preposterous. Violation of Constitutional rights comes into play. After all, the First Amendment states that as an American citizen you have the right to Freedom of Expression, which draws further cause for concern.

The negative association of the trend stems from prison mythology. Although no information can pinpoint an exact reason, many assumptions believe that because prisoners were not allowed to wear belts for fear of suicide, they had no choice but to sag their pants. Another myth points out that men would sag their pants in prison to portray that they were available for sex. (PAUSE)

Eyesore or not, older folks just can’t identify with the younger generation’s choice to show their underwear. It has been the subject of many wisecracks, including some old dude auditioning for American Idol with a garbage song called “Pants on the Ground.” Even President Barack Obama tackled the issue in 2008 prior to being elected into office.

When asked if outlawing the fashion of wearing pants imposed on civil liberties in an interview with MTV, Obama replied:

“Here’s my attitude: I think passing a law about people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time. We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, getting health care, dealing with the war in Iraq. Any public official who is worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems out there… Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants. You’re walking by your mother, your grandmother, and your underwear is showing. … What’s wrong with that? Come on. There are some issues that we face that you don’t have to pass a law [against], but that doesn’t mean folks can’t have some sense and some respect for other people. And, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear — I’m one of them.”

The POTUS makes some solid points, the most important being that imposing these laws is a waste of time. Instead of Pikesville enforcing fashion police tactics, they should focus on lowering the amount of violent crime committed in the state. According to the FBI’s statewide analysis, Tennessee topped the list as the state with highest violent crime rate in America. Violent crime encompasses murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Tennessee, let’s keep it real. Outlawing the sagging of pants is just another excuse for cops to racially profile, inappropriately grope, and spend less time at the local donut shop. And if legislature will go so far as to outlaw pants hanging too low, what will they crack down on next, clothes that are too tight?

All I’m saying is, if they ever banish yoga pants, I will personally lead the charge for revolution. No ifs, ands or butts about it.

Joey Tribbiani from friends wearing Saggy Pants.
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[h/t Daily Mail]

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