South Carolina Lawmakers Try To Legally Ban ‘Saggy’ Pants, And Some People Support It

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Twenty-two percent of children who live in South Carolina live below the poverty line. Their infrastructure is in decline and their roads are crumbling.

And those are the types of issues some residents say lawmakers should be focusing on instead of how men wear their pants.

“The people who run South Carolina really need to refocus what their priorities are,” said Myrtle Beach resident Derrick Hooks. “If you care about the people you don’t care about pants.”

Bipartisan-backed House Bill 4957, which doesn’t reference women, would make it illegal for men to wear “saggy pants” and states that “It is unlawful for a person to appear in public wearing his pants more than three inches below the crest of his ileumexposing his skin or undergarments.”

According to Dictionary.com “Ileum” is a part of the small intestine so it is believed that the world “ilium,” which is the largest part of the hip bone, was meant to be used instead, According to nbc41.com.

Violators will be fined $25 fo4r the first offense, $50 or three hours of community service, and $75 or six hours of community service for the third or subsequent offense.

These violations wouldn’t be considered criminal or delinquent and won’t affect educational financial assistance.

Rep. Joe Jefferson, a Democrat who is sponsoring the bill, says that wearing saggy pants is “unbecoming” and doesn’t “look “professional.”

“This is just to prevent these fellas and giving them at least an obligation to realize that they’re walking around and they’re convincing others to follow them,” Jefferson told WLTX19.

“Now I’m not focusing too much on women,”Jefferson told nbc4i.com. “Women to me are doing an admirable job in terms of taking care of themselves and their dress attire and what have you.”

Jefferson also claims that the law is not just another reason for the police to harass and minorities and says that they are not being targeted.

“it’s no more than a warning to allow these fellas to be more responsible,” says Jefferson. “It is not just targeting African-American men. I see men of all races walking around with this same problem.”

He claims that these men are making themselves targets because of the way they choose to wear their pants and reinforces the notion that people should be judged based on their appearance or dress in order to be pleasing to others.

“When you walk around all day long with saggy pants you’re only asking for trouble,” Jefferson said. “Having a decent interview is certainly out of the question. I call myself looking out for the benefit of men.”

So in Jefferson’s reality, people go to job interviews in saggy pants and should dress professionally even when they aren’t at work.

 

The history of how the sagging pants trend is varied. Some say it was started in prison because convicts weren’t allowed to have belts , or that it was a sign to men in prison that they were open to homosexual relationships, and other say it occurs because some people just can’t afford a belt.

The style was, however, popularized by the hip-hop movement. There are many other towns that have tried or have enacted similar laws like Wildwood, NJ. President Barack Obama commented on the trend a few years ago.

“Brothers should pull up their pants,” he told MTV, according to NPR. “That doesn’t mean you have to pass a law … 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 attempt to control societal norms through fashion is nothing new though.

In 1943 people were even killed over their clothing choices during the Zoot Suit Riots. But not everyone is taking South Carolina’s threats over saggy pants seriously.

“I bust the sag every day,” said Myrtle Beach resident Joshua Fortenberry adding that “every plumber in the country” would be out of a job if the law were to be passed.

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