Do You Really Want To See This?

There is a movement under way in Atlanta to outlaw sagging slacks and other public displays of underwear, like those bra straps that don't fit under spaghetti-strapped tank tops.
City Councilman C.T. Martin has proposed the legislation. He is hotly opposed by civil libertarians as an infringement of first amendment right of free expression. They also say this is targeted toward black youth. A gentleman on the latter side who was being interviewed on TV declared that sagging jeans is just a style, no different than the miniskirt or the midriff. I think this is a lame argument. Miniskirts and midriffs exposed skin of thighs and midsections, respectively, but nothing you could be arrested for. If these young men didn't wear underwear under those jeans, they butts would be exposed.
My views are somewhere in the middle. I've always hated that so-called "fashion," which reportedly originated in prisons, where belts are not used for safety reasons. But I don't see it as a race issue, just one of bad taste. I do feel that outlawing it seems extreme. I don't feel such attire should be permitted in schools, and that students who show up dressed that way should be sent home.
I'd love it if those merchants who post signs like 'No shirt? No shoes? NO SERVICE' will do the same for exposed underwear. But it's up to them. The fellows who go in for this style might pull up their pants if they can't get served at McDonald's or Popeye's or get into a movie.
One has to wonder how many of these young men will end up in prison yards, wearing work pants that sag . . . .?


Gwyneth Bolton said...

I think I'm on the fence on this one. Do I want to see young men and some older men walking around showing their drawers? No. Do I think that there should be a law against it? No. I think that the time spent enforcing these kinds of laws would be better spent, oh, I don't know looking for all those missing women and children of color that we never hear about on the news because they don't have blond hair and blue eyes... But that's just my two cents...


bettye griffin said...

I do think people are getting carried away with legislation, that if this keeps up the First Amendment is in danger. These things used to be regulated by a sense of personal decency that I find has gone the way of the Studebaker. I can remember a time when a woman would just as soon stay in the house rather than wear a tank top that exposes her bra strap.

Still, I can live with bra straps showing, but to me exposed undershorts/underpants crosses the line. I would wholeheartedly applaud merchants who refuse service to people who are shirtless, shoeless, and who are losing their pants.

Patricia W. said...

Tacky? Yes. Illegal? No.

Unfortunately many of the fashion criminals on this one are Black youth, who need to be taught and required to do better.

Just signed my middle schooler's Dress Code Policy. If a student has an unusual hair color (blue, green, etc.), it's against policy. No pocket watches or chains. No hats, even if they're aren't being worn. All pants with loops must be belted. (They didn't say where though because I've seen belts just above the knees.) More like that.

Some of it was funny but actually it's sad that this is even needed.

Donna D said...

Three words: NO. HOME. TRAINING.

Back in the day, parents did not allow you out of the house unless you were dressed appropriately - regardless of the style.

Now, parents (many of them too young to be parents) want to be known as hip and cool so they cave into the fashion dictates. As parents' standards have slipped, so have our children's. I know that kids will do whatever they want out of the sight of their parents, but there also used to be a time that if you got busted by another adult, you got busted at home and in public. Now, you're lucky if you don't get cussed out by the parents.

bettye griffin said...

Glad to know that none of us are for legislating the proper way to dress. There's just no accounting for bad taste.

Ah, yes, no home training. I forgot about that. Your entire response was extremely well said.

Thanks for posting, ladies!


Samara Leigh said...

I hate this style SO MUCH. I have an impressionable teen-ager who wants so badly to fit in. This is a constant argument that we've had with him and he has been sent back in the house to "put on some real clothes" many a time. In fact, his father has pulled up his pants and tightened his belt in the store and his pants weren't anywhere near as low as those in that picture.

I hate that black men are satisfied to look like a mindless army of drones with no sense of fashion, and seemingly no sense of pride or individuality.

I do think it is indecent, but like you ladies, I am reluctant to agree to legislation as the answer.

I am thrilled that schools and employers are taking a hard line on this. I hope more parents will do the same.

bettye griffin said...

Thanks for posting, Samara!