New law not aimed at fashion

Published 7:49 am Wednesday, July 20, 2011

At first glance, it might appear to some that the Greenville City Council overstepped its bounds last Monday night when it passed a new ordinance that outlawed sagging pants.

If this were strictly about fashion, we’d agree completely.

It’s certainly not the government’s place to tell us what to wear or even how to wear it. After all, this is America.

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If you want to wear your clothes inside out and backwards, you should be able to do that, even if someone else, or in this case our government officials, think your fashion choice is inappropriate. But despite what some might say, this new law is not about fashion.

It’s about public decency. And creating and enforcing laws that outline what is and is not acceptable concerning public decency is part of the government’s role.

So with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what Mayor Dexter McLendon and the City Council really passed last Monday night.

Ordinance 2011-05 says, “Pants worn by any person, regardless of age, should be sized appropriately and secured in such a manner so as to prevent the pants from falling more than three (3) inches below the hips thereby causing exposure of the person’s skin or the person’s undergarments.”

Pay attention to what it’s saying there.

It does not say that someone who believes sagging pants are fashionable can’t wear his or her pants in that manner. It simply says that sagging pants cannot be worn in a manner that exposes skin or undergarments.

Let’s face it. If you’re someone who thinks it’s fashionable to sag, and your pants are three inches below your hips, you are getting dangerously close to exposing things that just aren’t meant to be exposed in public, and by exposing them you are violating the rights of others.

Despite what Calvin Kein advertisements might lead us to believe, most people just aren’t interested in seeing your undergarments or anything else in that region, and we shouldn’t be forced to see it just because you happen to enjoy sporting saggy pants.

That’s the aim of this new law, and we believe the Mayor did a good job in crafting it in such a way as to strengthen our city’s decency guidelines, but still allow some freedom for those who choose to follow this fashion trend.

So, if you want to sag, go ahead and sag. But sag responsibly, and in the City of Greenville that means following the letter of the law.