Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The bottom line

Florida is trying to pass a spot of legislation that would ban people from having sex with animals and also wearing their trousers lowly slung.

So Floridians are going to have to start pulling up their trousers and stop having sex with animals pretty soon.

This attempt to ban young men from "sagging" – wearing jeans so low they show their underpants – is not new. In 2008, on the campaign trail, Barack Obama told MTV that "brothers should pull up their pants". A year before, a mayor in Louisiana threatened six months in jail and a $500 fine for any man allowing his jeans to slide down his buttocks. The sight of an exposed boxer short has caused uproar this side of the pond too: last year, an 18 year old was threatened with an Asbo for wearing trousers so low that they were showing his underpants. In the end, I am glad to report, the attempt had to be abandoned.

Is this really what it has come to? If this is a pressing problem for society then I think we should all head down the pub and count our lucky stars.

The look originated in hip hop culture, in the 90’s, and echoed the look of prisoners who had had their belts taken away in case they used them to hang themselves. Today, indie emo kids, who need a good meal and are not overly endowed in the bottom department, also tend to wear their jeans hanging low – although a skinnier fit is now en vogue. I am sure that a jean that's tight in the leg and low-slung in the crotch is not easy to wear, but this does not seem to deter them. Maybe they aren’t climbing over anything whilst listening to emotional rock.

So why are the authorities trying to stop them? Is it because the origins hark back to a lawless attitude?

Now I don’t want to see a teenager’s skinny bottom any more than you do, but is this really worthy of arrest? Is it antisocial behaviour? Is that kid making a political statement about gangs and politics?  No, of course not. For most it is rebellion against how their parents would like them to wear their trousers. For goodness sakes, it’s just a trend.

I say this from experience, as someone who had a number of years following the grunge tradition. I committed a host of crimes against fashion. Fishnet tights, oversized boots, morbid hoodies, purple hair and pale make-up being only a handful. Luckily for us all, no-one thought that criminalising any of them was a good idea.

And anyway, where will it end? A law against barely clad backsides may only be the beginning? What other fashion faux-pas will be seen as moral crises for society?

Large women in leggings? Crocs on adults? Clashing?

Call the police, I can see a muffin top.

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