Atlanta Considers Outlawing Baggy Pants

Are they serious? Has this society really sunk to the lowest common denominator where our government has to consider making laws to punish people who show their underwear? Apparently, the city of Atlanta is considering doing just that. According to an Associated Press article

Baggy pants that show boxer shorts or thongs would be illegal under a proposed amendment to Atlanta’s indecency laws. The amendment, sponsored by city councilman C.T. Martin, states that sagging pants are an “epidemic” that is becoming a “major concern” around the country.

Really? An epidemic of major concern? Apparently this councilman has never raised a teenager! Or if he has, he’s sent him or her off to prep school in a turtleneck body suit. The last “epidemic of major concern” I was aware of was AIDS, SARS, and stopping genocide in Rwanda. And now we are raising peoples’ underwear to such high classification. Maybe we need Joan Rivers to be the Chief of the Fashion Police in Atlanta. Personally, I don’t mind catching a thong slip every now and then.

According to the article

“Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it’s the in thing,” Martin said Wednesday. “I don’t want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future.”

That’s because if people see your underwear, apparently you have no future. Apparently, the ordinance would bar women from showing the strap of a thong beneath their pants and prohibit them from wearing jogging bras in public or show a bra strap. Wow! Women of Atlanta unite and organize a rally of thong and bra burnings a la the 1960’s!!!

But doesn’t this ordinance really beg the question about First Amendment Freedoms and censorship by our government? Cary Wiggins, my good buddy in Atlanta, I hope you are on top of this!! (Check out his blog here). I just don’t see how this ordinance will ever stand scrutiny. We live in a society where our clothes define us. We are saturated by advertisements of how to look more handsome or beautiful. I have to wear a suit to court to show respect for the bench. I have an image that I want to portray about myself and that differentiates me from everyone else. For gawd sake, if I want to protest in the nude, thanks to Marc Randazza and his firm, I can. If I chose to, why couldn’t I express myself by letting my boxers hang out? Actually, when I was a kid I think I did. If any of you recall, there was the whole OP (Ocean Pacific) movement in the early 80’s thanks to Jeff Spicoli of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” fame where kids wore their boxer shorts hanging out the bottom of their shorts. This isn’t any different.

Personally, I can’t stand the look and I think that it makes an individual lose credibility and creates stereotypes. But so do pocket protectors. But to outlaw it?? Seriously, just let these kids be kids for goodness sake. Just do what I do and tease them in public that their pants are falling down. They will grow up at some point. And someone tell C.T. Martin that he needs to find something better to do with his time.

(Read the story here)

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7 responses to “Atlanta Considers Outlawing Baggy Pants

  • C. Turano

    After reading this article a couple of times, I was unsuccessful in my attempt to find what makes councilman Martin an authority on good fashion or what’s prudent.

    If our courts continue to follow the precedence of passing ordinances outlawing our freedom of expression when will this stop? Councilman C.T. Martin claims he is only trying to ban baggy pants. What he really is doing is targeting a particular youth group and their means of expression – others, such as myself, call this act racial profiling. I feel for councilman Martin, I really do. There are a million people out there that dress really poorly – I mean it hurts my eyes and I would love to have all of my friends sign a petition have tons of stuff banned, but the truth remains that the same freedom awarded to me is awarded to the kids wearing baggy pants. I do not want the state handing down a dress code or deciding what types of clothes I can wear and at appropriate deemed times.

    Maybe Martin should consider is a career change and try his hand in fashion and apparel.

  • Jane Smith

    It seems as though city councilman C.T. Martin has certainly achieved what he intended – to generate some conversation. However, it is unlikely that his desire to end this “epidemic” will be solved by this ordinance. I am also sick and tired of looking at the rears and undergarments of young people, but I am waiting for common sense and perhaps a little self-respect to work its magic among these offenders of fashion, and yes, decency.

    A real concern is the racial profiling that will surely result from this ordinance. This law gives police officers one more reason to selectively “enforce” this law by targeting young black males and females. Who wants to bet those wearing sports bras get off with just a warning? An article in The Atlanta Journal- Constitution contains interesting comments from individuals who live in the Atlanta area. Are First Amendment Freedoms being violated with this law? Many in Atlanta certainly believe they are. Note the comment in the article regarding Woodstock and hemp clothing.

    If indecency is the real issue, the net should be cast broader than just on those wearing baggy pants. The “public” display of the “lack of” certain undergarments by a certain celebrity might be better of measure of indecency.

  • Thomas A.

    My legal knowledge regaring First Amendment rights is not great enoough at this time to give a boilerplate legal testimonial, but i can author an opinion on this “sagging” matter.
    Clothing and fashion or the lack there of can easily be argued as an individuals most outragous act of gaining attention, or attepting to circumnavigate societies norms that it places upon individuals. From Beatnicks to Grunge, Bell bottoms to Angel Flights, clothing and how it is worn has been the individual’s personal voice.
    This isn’t the first time the phenomenon has been addressed legall. Louisiana, Texas, and West Virgina have all “exposed” no pun intended this fashion to their legislatures or local municipaliities.
    Although the public should find it reassuring that with all these issues in society today such as homelessness, welfare, health care, over crowding in jails, and numerous enviomental issues that this issue is geeting attnetion.
    Although you also must ask yourself is underwear isn’t meant to be seen then why is it be produced with such colorful patterns, messages, and trade name of designer name placed all over them?
    What was once women’s underwear and meant to never be seen on the outside has given birth to industry giants such as Victoria Secret who market the product as outerwear, thank you Victoria Secret.
    In reality is the “brief” was again no pun intended glimpse of boxers or thongs that indecent or an immoral act? If this is passe who will set the standard for lewd or indecent? Will there be a measuring device mahufactured to measure the sags legality, much like the plastic guage to measure crabs on a fishing boat? or will it be as a Supreme Court Justice once announced,”I will know it when I see it.”
    This appears to be more a generational collison of respect and communication that a legal issue.
    “Oh” and by the way I have owned several pair of the Jeff Spicoli red andwhite checkered model of Vans in my time, “Dude they are totally tubular..”

  • Rachel Wohlner

    I know that when I was in high school I definatly wore baggy pants that unfortunatly showed my underwear. But here is what Martin isn’t taking into consideration… these kids will either continue to wear baggy pants and not wear underwear anymore or find some other trend that will “offend” the coucilman and public more.

  • Michelle

    I guess we are back to the Calvin Klein generation of Marky Mark and his underwear, but that was just an expression of artistic and flattering images of a good looking guy in his CK briefs. Not sure if that ever did offend anyone, but I guess now a days you can never tell. I guess I won’t be going to Atlanta with thongs and bras, keeps me safe from offending the councilman.
    I think that Rachel is right in saying that kids and college going crowds will still continue to wear baggy pants and women will still wear thongs that show at the top of their pants until the fashion industry decides that this type of fashion epidemic is over and gone. Instead of just blaming the people that do this offending expression of freedom, why not blame the fashion industry, the music industry and everyone else that is in the public eye for starting this epidemic of world wide proportion!!

  • Katheline R. Tate

    I personally do not like the baggy pants that some of our young and older people wear; however as with most styles that young people acquire, this too shall pass. If any of the older people who are against this style, think back to your young days and how older generations thought you were crazy or out of your mind to adopt whatever style was popular during your young days. Let’s worry more about HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases, jobs for our youth, education, building strong characters, etc.

  • june sitter

    I personally despise baggy pants and don’t have a very high opinion of whoever sports such wear. I also don’t like those goth boys who wear belted, supertight, black jeans that only come up to the pubic bone and leaving their boxered butts hanging out but I realize this is a means of how the youth are identifying themselves and expressing rebellion against the “norm”.
    I really despise how many elected officials are putting their personal feelings ahead of their duties to protect and serve those who elected them to protect the civil rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution. I understand many politicians believe the Constitution is an outdated document but that is simply not true. It’s a living, breathing document with tons of potential that no one appreciates and often takes for granted. Our founding fathers intended for America to never again suffer tyranny, dictatorship or become the facist government we’re currently evolving into.
    Everyday more and more of our rights are being encroached upon and freedom of expression is just one of them. We have to draw a line in the sand and say “enough is enough”.
    If these people get their way and start telling people how to dress, then they’re going to start telling who you can love, who you can marry- oh wait- we already have that to some extent–I mean that things will get worse. Very soon the government will take over every aspect of people’s lives if we continue to allow things to go on like it has been. First it’s who can marry (i.e. ban on gay marriages), then it’s clothes. It only takes the little things to add up to the bigger things and if we allow the little things to be taken away it’ll be too late to stop the bigger things from being taken away.
    Our First Amendment rights are the most precious rights of them all. It allows us to learn, grow, evolve and share information. Without it, we will no longer exist as free individuals. When that happens, we will no longer be Americans or America the home of the free and the brave.

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