Saturday, September 3, 2011

saggy pants no more, says Florida. WTF?

An interesting item in the news. A new Florida State law - that's right, a State law - bans saggy pants on school campuses. It's called the Pull Your Pants Up law and is the heart's wish of Democratic state senator Gary Siplin of Orlando, who handed out 200 belts to students to help them comply with the law.

"We want our kids to believe they're going to college, and part of that is an attitude, and part of that is being dressed professionally," Siplin told Reuters.

"I'm not going to hire anyone, white or black, with saggy pants," he said. "I want to make sure our kids qualify."

I'll admit that I don't understand the saggy pants style that leaves underwear exposed. It looks sloppy, impractical, uncomfortable, and disjointed. However, I do believe that if someone wants to dress like that, they should be free to do so. Attitudes like Siplin's are just the sort that makes snap judgments about people based on appearances. It represents a conformist attitude that asks everyone to fit in the same mold. How short of a leap it is from assuming that young men who wear saggy pants are defective in some way to seeing Muslim women wear head scarves and seeing terrorists? It's one thing to maintain a certain socio-cultural attitude. If an employer has a certain appearance she wants her company to project, then it's not necessarily unreasonable to take style into account...but getting or not getting the job is enough social pressure for people to decide for themselves when and where to stick with their personal style, saggy pants or otherwise. But to make a law out of, to involve the mechanisms of government strikes me as deeply worrying. Especially considering this:

He[Siplin] originally sought to criminalize saggy pants, but the current law instead subjects repeat violators to up to three days of in-school suspension and up to 30 days suspension from extracurricular activities. It also targets low-cut and midriff-exposing shirts on girls.

Setting aside the question as to whether Florida doesn't have more important issues to legislate than saggy pants, this law strikes me as precisely the sort of heavy-handed interference that interferes with communities developing their own characters. I mean, really...criminalize saggy pants? I don't want to drag out the word fascism, but you know...Besides, there's never been a restriction on schools setting their own dress again, why a law if not to reinforce the downside of society, namely, the relentless drive to make everyone look and act the same?

What do you think? Is this a worthwhile law or is Siplin off-base? Sound off below!

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