Raise Your Pants, Raise Your Image
May 19, 2010 6:22 PM   Subscribe

 
Way to pick your battles, Senator.
posted by box at 6:24 PM on May 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


What next? Outlawing shivs taped to shins? "Prison Food Thursdays" at the bistro? Contraband toilet cistern wine made from bread rolls and Kool-Aid? Jeez, lay off.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:24 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is he doing Hot Fuzz LARPing or something?
posted by The Whelk at 6:27 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


also can't they listen to some uplifting rap like arrested development
posted by klangklangston at 6:28 PM on May 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


This is why I wear my pants about 5 inches above navel-level. Respect.

I remember the low-pants thing from, like, 20 years ago. I thought, "what a stupid fad. It should be over soon."
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:30 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Boy there's nothing that stops young people from doing something like people telling them to stop doing something, right?
posted by Evangeline at 6:31 PM on May 19, 2010 [33 favorites]


Has a campaign to change young people's clothing choices ever succeeded, in the history of the universe? Anywhere? Regardless of supposed merit? I can see this being counterproductive though, in that it might encourage people to do it more - though most likely, it'll simply be ignored. I'm sure Eric Adams means well, but here are two predictions: tomorrow, grass will still be green, and this campaign will have zero success in bringing down the numbers of low-pant wearers no matter how much money goes into it.
posted by VikingSword at 6:31 PM on May 19, 2010




Watch out for the Fashion Police.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:33 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. I mean, you're allowed to think fashion is stupid. The only sad thing is that electing this man to office has led him to believe that the entire state of New York is his lawn. Off of which I had best be getting.
posted by 256 at 6:35 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]




Until this moment, I hated that look. Now I'm wondering how I can emulate it.

Good work, Senator. I'm glad you've got all your other problems out of the way and have time to work on something *really* important.
posted by DU at 6:37 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


My personal favorites are the guys who wear belts on their pants to weigh down the pants. It makes them hang down more effectively off their asses, I guess. I am not really sure.

But that is clearly a fantastic example of irony: wearing a belt to keep your pants from staying up.
posted by flarbuse at 6:37 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a better battle for you, Senator: why not lower America's highest-in-the-world incarceration rate.

If we didn't live in a country where 1 out of 54 adult males was in prison on any given day, and where a black boy didn't have a 1 in 3 lifetime chance of serving prison time, maybe these prison memes wouldn't be quite so pervasive in general society.

But when you have far more people in prison than even in our enormous active-duty military, what do you expect?
posted by Dimpy at 6:38 PM on May 19, 2010 [46 favorites]


If ever there were a misguided effort at addressing the symptoms rather than the problems, this would be it.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:38 PM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Watch out for the Fashion Police

Think that's bad? California has to deal with the Suede Denim Secret Police.
posted by griphus at 6:39 PM on May 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


sagging pants are just the first step in a slippery slope to a criminal future

I'm trying to picture the slope-steps, but all I can see are men's arses. Thanks New York!
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:39 PM on May 19, 2010


Until this moment, I hated that look. Now I'm wondering how I can emulate it.

I once decided to try this. Not in public mind you, but to try and parse the logistics of it. If you use a belt and keep enough distance between your thighs your pants are pretty secure. Walk with your feet apart. If it becomes necessary and you must hold your pants, grasp at the groin, this seems to be standard operating procedure.
posted by hellojed at 6:42 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here's a better battle for you, Senator: why not lower America's highest-in-the-world incarceration rate.

I believe that's what he thinks he's doing: "The first indicator that your child is having problems is the dress code."

Until this moment, I hated that look. Now I'm wondering how I can emulate it.

Me too! Apparently I'm doing it wrong, or am not buns-having enough to do it at all. Maybe this is worthy of an AskMe...
posted by hermitosis at 6:42 PM on May 19, 2010


Still waiting for the inside-out clothes trend to appear, per Back to the Future 2.
posted by Paragon at 6:46 PM on May 19, 2010


It's an unfortunate choice for him to champion.

I have respect for Senator Adams. He was a career police officer who spoke out against police brutality and racial profiling, and tried to change certain ingrained attitudes within the NYPD.

As a Senator, he's fought for legislative term limits -- something that our state legislature desperately needs. He's in favor of marriage equality and has helped pioneer a program that gives incentives to businesses and sets up job fairs called "New Jobs New York."

Our state legislature is full of corrupt incumbents who have established a political bureaucracy that is explicitly designed to keep them in power. It's been nice to see a Senator fight against that in some small ways. I'd really rather he kept up that fight rather than some idiotic "Stop the Sag" campaign.
posted by zarq at 6:48 PM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Boy there's nothing that stops young people from doing something like people telling them to stop doing something, right?

Hey, I quit using drugs the minute Nancy Reagan told me to just say no!
posted by That's Numberwang! at 6:50 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


And yet, at my urban HS, we teachers were told by the local police to be aware of students who might have their pants pulled up, contrary to the fashion norm. Those were the students who were concerned that the pants might otherwise fall completely down, overburdened by the concealed firearms in the pockets.
posted by TDIpod at 6:51 PM on May 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


Even in this country, images of ridicule portraying certain groups in a negative way have been forced on minorities. (from the video)

Even in the United States of America?!
posted by ODiV at 6:56 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I was in Harlem, I was amazed at the amount of young men's underwear I'd see. I'd look away, feeling like a dirty old woman.

I don't really get it. I don't like having to think about what society thinks about your underwear pattern if you've put off laundry and all you have the really embarrassing pair with something like bunnies on it
posted by angrycat at 7:03 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that the one truly stupid thing about that style is that it makes guys waddle. It's not a walk, or even a strut, it's a waddle.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 7:04 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the dudes in Harlem are anything like the dudes who come in to my public library, SOP is to wear two pairs of underwear--the ones intended for display, and the ones worn under those.
posted by box at 7:06 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, lets all laugh at the out of touch old guy. Meanwhile, the majority of people that can open doors for young people aren't going to do so if they see that ass hangin out. So go on young brothers, keep yourselves looking unemployable. Metafilter approves.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 7:12 PM on May 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


I think this guy's heart is in the right place, but reverse psychology is key. If the state senate really wanted this to stop, they'd all agree to wear their pants like this for a full term. Hell, why stop at state? Get Congress to dress stereotypical street for a year. The guys from New York with the low pants, the guys from California, maybe like cholos. My New Jersey senators could chip in by looking like the Situation. And all those red state guys could go with mullets and so forth. Some possibilities would emerge from this:

a) reverse psychology would lead to a resurgence of Edwardian attire among teens. Which would be a boon to those of us who would actually enjoy wearing a bowler if everyone else was doing it.
b) C-Span would be i) more entertaining and ii) the outfits might be formalized, over time, into something akin to the national costumes seen in old infographics, It's a Small World, or local ethnic festivals.
c) on general principle, those in power should be made to look like idiots from time to time. I think Diogenes may have said that. Or if he didn't, he just never got around to it.
posted by condour75 at 7:16 PM on May 19, 2010 [34 favorites]


If this fashion style originated in prison, I CANNOT WAIT until this prison fashion style gains traction.

In case you don't recognize it, that's some of the standard prison garb from Maricopa County, Arizona, run by hizzoner, Joe Arpaio, who seemingly has 1000 bad ideas for every good one.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:18 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I heard about this on NY1.

A conversation that followed:

"Hey did you hear that there's this whole campaign of subway ads in Queens that's combatting sagging? 'Raise your pants, raise your image.'?"

"Yeah. I watch NY1."

When you see people busting a huge sag with skinny jeans, it's just perplexing. Fashion-derived limited mobility has now come to menswear.
posted by defenestration at 7:19 PM on May 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


A small part of me likes the baggy pants phenom because of the amusement it provides when I see baggy pants-wearing guys hobbling for the bus. Makes me smile, it does.
posted by rtha at 7:20 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


THIS IS THE BEST VIDEO
posted by Greg Nog at 7:21 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]



How do we get the fairer sex to emulate these guys?
posted by notreally at 7:24 PM on May 19, 2010


Could this actually be a stealth campaign gambit to get the older white folks of Brooklyn to vote for a black man?
posted by longsleeves at 7:27 PM on May 19, 2010


Yeah, lets all laugh at the out of touch old guy. Meanwhile, the majority of people that can open doors for young people aren't going to do so if they see that ass hangin out. So go on young brothers, keep yourselves looking unemployable. Metafilter approves.

You know, I really wish this racist "if young blacks would just clean up their act, the doors of opportunity would suddenly be thrown open to them and racism would die forever!" meme would die. Adolescence is adolescence, regardless of skin color. Teenagers everywhere wear funny clothes, drink and smoke pot, curse, stay out later than they should, shoplift, vandalize, make poor sexual decisions, etc. The difference is in how their behavior is perceived: (middle class) white kids are "testing their boundaries"; black (and Hispanic, and working-class) kids are criminals. The whole saggy pants thing seems to me like a pretty clear example of the double-standards applied to minorities vs. middle class whites.
posted by homuncula at 7:41 PM on May 19, 2010 [37 favorites]


I always had a theory that maybe sagged pants were a display of evolutionary fitness, as if to say "Hey ladies, I have deliberately handicapped myself by belting my pants right above my knee, yet despite that I can still run for the bus and/or run away from trouble. Let's procreate!" I mean, the fashion trend has been dominant in certain circles for twenty years, while other trends have come and gone, and come back again. There is something to it.
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 7:54 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


And its immediate predecessor, "Pants on the ground, pants on the ground/Lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground!" (By General Larry Pratt)
posted by Sinner at 8:03 PM on May 19, 2010


Liberal WIN!

Emulate the losers.
posted by HTuttle at 8:04 PM on May 19, 2010


I see kids wearing their pants like that every day, and it just looks silly to me. I don't understand how that look goes from silly to threatening. I feel it says more about the viewer than the pants-sagger.
posted by clockzero at 8:09 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, I really wish this racist "if young blacks would just clean up their act, the doors of opportunity would suddenly be thrown open to them and racism would die forever!" meme would die.

That's what I was getting at all. If you're a minority you're going to have to work harder, be better, just to get to the same place. I understand this. These kids need to understand it too because, fair or not, there is a difference in how their behavior is perceived. The black tax hasn't vanished and sagging your pants for equality isn't going to get you anywhere.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 8:19 PM on May 19, 2010


As Bob Dylan said, "Definitely make sure to criticize what you don't understand."
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:24 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Teenagers everywhere wear funny clothes

See, the thing with the pants-sag is that it doesn't typically stop at 19.
posted by fusinski at 8:28 PM on May 19, 2010


I'd say sagging has been around long enough and is benign enough, that it doesn't get a second glance by most people under the age of 35 or so. As such, I would argue that many of those people don't think differently of someone who dresses like that. It's not seen as particularly rebellious.

No one looks at people in tight jeans and leather jackets and say to themselves, "that youth is a criminal." But it wasn't that long ago that was exactly what that clothing implied.
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 8:32 PM on May 19, 2010




Don't they have anything else to worry about?
posted by mike3k at 8:36 PM on May 19, 2010


Thirty years from now the saggy pants crowd will be complaining about all the kids walking around with their penises hanging out through their zippers.
posted by stargell at 8:39 PM on May 19, 2010 [15 favorites]


I see where you're coming from, The Hamms Bear, but the problem is that just telling kids to pull their pants up isn't going to bridge the gaping chasm of cultural capital and economic opportunity that separates poor urban neighborhoods from middle-class ones. I see this campaign as worse than useless, because it doesn't seem likely to decrease the popularity of saggy pants, but it does seem likely to reinforce the connection between saggy pants and criminal behavior and the idea that racial disparities in wealth and economic achievement are caused by personal irresponsibility on the part of minorities.
posted by homuncula at 8:40 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


D'oh, that should say "wealth and educational acheivement", not "wealth and economic achievement".
posted by homuncula at 8:42 PM on May 19, 2010


Ho gawd, he just made this style a LOT more popular. And personally, I think a business suit with a green tie and pinned collar and that little pleated handkerchief makes a person look like a clown.
posted by telstar at 8:51 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Actually I'm betting that thirty years from now, the saggy pants crowd will be looking at thirty year old pictures of themselves and saying "what the fuck was I thinking?"

In other words, the same exact way I react when I see Z. Cavaricci's.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:06 PM on May 19, 2010


Sweet. After this we can go after corn rows and then all bad things will be eliminated and god fearing christians can procreate on the lily white streets of gold again.

Dear Nacireman researchers, it may have gotten way out of control but I assure you my pants were saggier than optimal for quite some time because designers patterned jeans based on an idealized white guy with no ass. All of us guys of all races who were not flat assed were either uncomfortable all day or bought a size too big so the damn things were usable.

Mr. lawmaker/officer, I am sure big coats are your next target - why am i wearing it indoors anyway, right? Because my hairstyle and a lot of people who look like me's hairstyle is low (corn rows are pretty tough to do yourself). We used to call it a 'fade'. so as a result, heat escapes from my head and i am colder. Hence the indoor coat.

I realize this is messing up some pretty cool stereotypes with cogent explanations. My bad.
posted by cashman at 9:23 PM on May 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


Brothers should pull up their pants.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:38 PM on May 19, 2010


When you see people busting a huge sag with skinny jeans, it's just perplexing. Fashion-derived limited mobility has now come to menswear.


The first time I saw this (sagging skinny jeans) I busted a gut right there laughing at the kid wearing them. I really didn't want to be rude, but watching the duck waddle he was forced to do to manage this style was much too much and I couldn't keep from laughing.

And that's when I knew I was getting old.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:39 PM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


And personally, I think a business suit with a green tie and pinned collar and that little pleated handkerchief makes a person look like a clown.

I think a business suit with a green tie and pinned collar and a little pleated handkerchief and my pants sagging and ass hanging out would make me look very cool.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:41 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


You gotta see some of the ballers rock that style. It looks cool as hell. But, most ballers don't have a 9-5 either, so they don't have to worry about what the anybody thinks. Remember the creased khakis(California)? Or, go way back to the late 70s when the style was creased jeans. Remember that shit? If they wear their pants low, there's supposed to be a shirt covering their ass. Anything else is the wrong way. I have an old friend who did about 8 years, and he wears double sandals(one on top of the other). He told me it was the latest style in prison, and it was funny as hell to me. He knows not to go to a job interview with that shit on, I hope. Anyway, I think it's going to move toward the Mos def/Kanye/Nas Hip-hop style in a couple years(RIP GURU). Kind of like what Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Ra, Sanders, Dolphy, Tyner, and so on, did back in the day(I'm talking clothing, not music). I don't see what the big deal is though. Someone should tell them to pull their pants up if they want to get a job. Simple and plain. But it is cool when it's worn right.
posted by Flex1970 at 9:42 PM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


The first time I saw this (sagging skinny jeans) I busted a gut right there laughing at the kid wearing them. I really didn't want to be rude, but watching the duck waddle he was forced to do to manage this style was much too much and I couldn't keep from laughing.

And that's when I knew I was getting old.


I'm getting old too because I had the same reaction. They do look like they're wearing diapers though.
posted by fshgrl at 9:59 PM on May 19, 2010


Thirty years from now the saggy pants crowd will be complaining about all the kids walking around with their penises hanging out through their zippers.

I just fell out of my chair laughing.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:59 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obama: "brothers should pull up their pants." "And, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear — I'm one of them."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:36 PM on May 19, 2010


Lil Bow Wow moves to a small town where music and low-slung pants have been banned ever since a town tragedy years earlier when four teens tripped over their low pants and drowned in the quarry. Lil Bow Wow rebels against the town authorities and inspires the local teens to wear their pants with their asses hanging out again. The last scene at the prom is great, although the dance scene in the barn is even better -- you've never seen Lil Bow Wow dance until you've seen him dance with one hand holding up his pants the entire time.

Working title: "Pantsloose."
posted by incessant at 10:44 PM on May 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


5_13_23_42_69_666: "I think that the one truly stupid thing about that style is that it makes guys waddle. It's not a walk, or even a strut, it's a waddle."

All the better to C-Walk, my good Sir.
posted by bwg at 10:45 PM on May 19, 2010


Oy! Quit horning in on my racket, kirkaracha.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:10 PM on May 19, 2010


Every single time this subject has come up in the past six and a half years, this is the first thing that comes to mind.

The fact that we have still not reached this point disappoints me far more than it should.
posted by Saydur at 11:35 PM on May 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


The 1950s Police Detective Manual is lost now, but one of the tips in there was to look for girls who have purses made from thousands of tightly folded gum wrappers, as these were likely to be gifts from a boyfriend in prison.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:57 PM on May 19, 2010


Lil Bow Wow moves to a small town
[Quiet rap music, accompanied by banjo, fades out]

The summers in Lake Wobegon are long and pleasant, and when the sun starts to drag in its trail toward the roofs of the houses, the breeze whistles... [pause] ...MELLIFLUOUSLY. It's a sound that calls the young men, who like to take their time to stroll; ... [pause] ...to WALK their waddling walks, rustling their shirts, holding the fronts of their jeans and displaying... [pause] ...the PLUMAGE of the underwear, that bobs pleasantly above their belts... [pause] ...LETTING IN the cool, fragrant breeze of the long afternoon, and LETTING OUT... [pause] ...any number of THINGS.

It's not to the taste of the OLD, and there's disapproval in the faces of the respectable folk who don't remember their own... [pause] ...LOW-RIDING fashions of years gone by. But at least a few of the wiser heads, like Mr Gustavson who owns Gustavson's Reliable Menswear, SMILES, and remembers, and reminds his friends about the time when Henry Hendricks broke his jaw in three places because his pants were so low that his POCKET got caught in the column shift of his Ford, in the main street of Lake Wobegon... [pause] ...where all the women are strong, all the men are handsome... [pause] ...and all the pants are worn at a below average height.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:20 AM on May 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


So go on young brothers, keep yourselves looking unemployable. Metafilter approves.

Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did: Get a job, sir! The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Lebowski?

The bums will always lose!
posted by kaibutsu at 12:53 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


kaibutsu: "So go on young brothers, keep yourselves looking unemployable. Metafilter approves.

Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did: Get a job, sir! The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Lebowski?

The bums will always lose!
"

"He said to take any rug in the house!"
posted by bwg at 1:04 AM on May 20, 2010


All the better to C-Walk, my good Sir.

see now if the guys in the saggy pants got around using little slidey dance steps like that it would be awesome!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:12 AM on May 20, 2010


I would like to do this. Unfortunately there is a belly in the way.
posted by srboisvert at 1:27 AM on May 20, 2010


I'm not really understanding why people are coming down on Mr. Adams. I can't believe how much people are dismissing the importance of personal appearance. Whether you want to convey a positive or negative one is certainly up to you, but don't deny it doesn't matter, exist, or count in real life. I've noticed that nobody is addressing the negative stereotype aspect of the ad, instead calling him a grandpa, whining about the lawn, or whatever. How modern.
posted by l2p at 1:57 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is easy to dismiss him as out of touch, and being middle class and white, I almost feel i would be exposing ignorance by commenting at all, but really we should stop to think about an important actual point he is making.

This is about African-Americans buying into a racist damaging stereotype conjured up and directed by white people over centuries - one that is a direct descendant of Amos n' Andy, black "mammies" and other racist ephemera. Much of this street fashion could've come from "La couture de la maison de David Duke."

And thus, because of the prison origins and the nexus between it and criminality, I gather that Adams, and a whole bunch of other black people who've written about this believe it reinforces the notion amongst African-Americans that prison culture is somehow "authentically black." That notion is alas, practically ingrained amongst white people in the US.

It validates every white racists stereotype of African-Americans. It does this in a way that cornrows, dreads, Kente etc., most definitely do NOT."

John McWhorter has said the same thing often, although he has moved from linguist/Creole expert to "noted black conservative." I suspect that had Malcolm X lived to see it would say the same thing. Bob Marley too - his lyric in Redemtion song about "freeing yourself from mental slavery" is rather apt here. You could call this fashion slavery.

This doesn't mean that this campaign will be *effective* though, since as everyone else has pointed out, when has anyone ever listened to someone's "campaign" about fashion. But to just roll eyes and not see that the connection he made between mammies and saggy pants is a valid one is a bit too facile.
posted by xetere at 2:18 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


My girlfriend works at one of the largest clothing chains here in Sweden. One of the things they sell is kids baggy jeans with fake underwear sewn into them. They're quite cute, in a totally stupid way.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 3:49 AM on May 20, 2010


FAIL. like kids are gonna listen to gramps fashion advice, prison culture or not. personally, i just think it is a stupid look on anyone, black or white; i have seen all colours wearing it here in the UK
posted by marienbad at 4:42 AM on May 20, 2010


My friend told me that an explanation offered in his ethnography class, was that wearing low-slung pants, evolved from a way to signify that you have a larger older brother. Which was a way of displaying the protection you had available, as people will stay away from a child/teen who's brother has such gigantic pants.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:18 AM on May 20, 2010


stargell: "Seen on the street: a guy with fake underwear sewn into the back of his jeans to make it appear that his pants are hanging down. "

Jason Biggs had those in Loser. And his lower-middle-class Midwest white boy character thought they were embarrassing. And this was 2000. And because of this, I have to wonder why saggy pants are still cool.
posted by giraffe at 5:58 AM on May 20, 2010


Lil Bow Wow moves to a small town

He's just Bow Wow now.
posted by hermitosis at 6:42 AM on May 20, 2010


HBUC-no-pants?
posted by stratastar at 6:44 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, man, it's all out war between the oldheads and the youngins on this pants issue. They just passed an official memo around banning saggy pants in drug court, which the older black and Latino social workers with our program strongly supported. So now clients are being instructed to fix their pants when they are before the judge at the bar of the court by the crier. The black middle class considers the pants thing a major affront, like having your ass hanging out all the time equals a total acceptance of poverty and marginalization and a conscious rejection of the legitimate labor market as a viable option for young black men, regardless of how sparse jobs may be for them. I know how strongly a lot of my coworkers feel about it, so I understand that there's a little more to it than intergenerational GRAR, it's a little deeper than that. I stay away from the issue entirely, it's not my battle and I prefer to dress a little street for work anyway because as a white guy you can't come at young drug dealers in a suit and tie like the oldheads do, it just won't work, there's too many culturally loaded issues with authority there. I have had heated debates about this with older black coworkers, though, who feel like dressing sharp is an integral part of the message we're trying to send to our clients, whereas I feel like putting a suit and tie on just distances me from the kid I'm trying to connect with and establishes a symbolic power imbalance between us that is counterproductive to the kind of equal partnership I'm trying to build with them.
posted by The Straightener at 6:50 AM on May 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


If he's going to criticize people for looking sloppy, he should clean off his desk before making a commercial.
posted by desjardins at 6:57 AM on May 20, 2010


This doesn't mean that this campaign will be *effective* though, since as everyone else has pointed out, when has anyone ever listened to someone's "campaign" about fashion.

I get what you're saying here, but the way you phrased made me think: But there is a multibillion-dollar industry that is devoted to exactly this. This is what the fashion industry does - gets us to listen to their campaigns about what to wear.

I know that billboards with black models wearing nonbaggy jeans from the Gap wouldn't really cut it here, but it's interesting to think about what would.
posted by rtha at 7:06 AM on May 20, 2010


This is yet another post where the demographics of MetaFilter become painfully obvious.

Logic - relevant experience != reason.
posted by noway at 7:20 AM on May 20, 2010


Jason Biggs had those in Loser. And his lower-middle-class Midwest white boy character thought they were embarrassing.

Now that would probably be the most effective deterrent of all. If you really wanted to get people to stop dressing like this, just put up a bunch of billboards showing middle- and upper-class white kids dressing this way. You wouldn't even need any captions.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:22 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


For crying out loud, teenage boys have been wearing their pants like this for 20 years. Get over it.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 7:29 AM on May 20, 2010


Byron Hurt tackles the idea of hip-hop fashion's connection to prison culture in the documentary Hip Hop Heads: Beyond Beats and Rymes.
posted by photoslob at 7:37 AM on May 20, 2010


In my line of work, we wear boots and carry tools in our pockets and on our belts. It's primarily white, and there are some programs to try and get younger, less well-off minorities into the industry. Despite what we all try and tell them over and over, there are those who will always wear those boots without laces, and always spend half the day wasting time pulling up their pants, which are always falling down because of the tools and assorted gear on them.

Once the program ends, those younger, less well-off minorities are never hired again, and go on to be older, less well-off minorities, generally. The ones who pull their pants up and tie their shoes, as reality necessitates? Win!

So really, it's not always about white middle-class problems with fashion. Sometimes there's a reality that needs to be addressed, and it's to an individual's detriment to not understand the difference.
posted by nevercalm at 7:43 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


The bottom line here (pun intended) is that the sag communicates immaturity, a lack of seriousness and self-respect, and lack of respect for others. Like it or not, it just does. Strip away all the cultural baggage, and you're left with idiots waddling around, tugging at their pants and forcing others to look at their underwear, or worse, their asses.

I'm with Cosby, Obama, and Adams—brothers (and the suburban white guys who emulate them) should pull their damn pants up. Especially the ones who aren't teenagers anymore. And the teens should get busy finding some shiny new way to irk and perplex their elders. Because the saggy pants thing has gone on long enough.
posted by donmateo at 7:46 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It looks like it's on its way out here in south Berkeley -- not long ago, about every teen-aged boy in my neighborhood had one arm permanently engaged to hold his pants up (or, in extreme cases, both arms.) Now it's seeming like the exception rather than the rule.

I loved the series in Boondocks in which Granddad became a Cosby acolyte. "Pull up your pants! I WANNA SEE MORE SOCK!"
posted by Zed at 8:20 AM on May 20, 2010


I suspect that had Malcolm X lived to see it would say the same thing.

Hmmm, seems to me that if young black males were to collectively adopt crisp suits and bow ties the ridiculous pants trend of the day would be teabaggers wearing Depends adult diapers in the vain hope of mitigating their pants-shitting fear.
posted by stet at 8:24 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


a) reverse psychology would lead to a resurgence of Edwardian attire among teens. Which would be a boon to those of us who would actually enjoy wearing a bowler if everyone else was doing it.

I've got a bowler I've been wearing regularly for some many years now, and good lord am I sick of being asked if I'm into steampunk.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:44 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


condour75: "Get Congress to dress stereotypical street for a year."

That would be the best way to stop it, but I fear folks would just think that Barney Frank was being absent-minded about his clothes again.
posted by QIbHom at 9:02 AM on May 20, 2010


I think it's hilarious that 75 years ago teenaged minorities were being admonished for wearing their pants too high.

Fashion changes but the scolds endure.
posted by turaho at 9:30 AM on May 20, 2010


Man, they were railing about this when I was in elementary school. It was against the dress code to wear sagging pants, and all the boys still wore their pants this way.

When I was in middle school, I remember going to another school in the district for a basketball game, and the teachers had put up a sign in the hallway saying that the style came from prison, where inmates wore sagging pants because the prison guards took away their belts so that they couldn't commit suicide with them. The reason they were so depressed? Because other inmates had made them their "girlfriends." That's right. According to this sign, sagging pants = victim of homosexual prison rape.

Still, when I looked around the kids watching the game, they were still wearing sagging pants. So I am doubtful that these billboards are going to do much of anything to change this trend, which is still going strong after 20+ years.

Also, I don't see what's wrong with seeing a few inches of someone's boxers. Guys walk around in boxers. Boxers are like shorts. Who cares.
posted by duvatney at 9:59 AM on May 20, 2010


Well, Adams's crusade has caused this middle class, thirty-something, non-baggy-panted, semi-Latina female to purchase and download all three versions of "General" Larry Platt's masterful single, "Pants on the Ground." So you can't say it's no impact. Adams's co-crusader is now upwards of 0.03 cents richer!

Also, I downloaded a copy of ICP's "Miracles."

Shut up.

posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:56 AM on May 20, 2010


just in case anyone thinks this is about baggy pants or "low slung" jeans, the pics on the billboard are not an exaggeration (if anything they're on the polite side).

You know, I really wish this racist "if young blacks would just clean up their act, the doors of opportunity would suddenly be thrown open to them and racism would die forever!" meme would die. Adolescence is adolescence, regardless of skin color. Teenagers everywhere wear funny clothes, drink and smoke pot, curse, stay out later than they should, shoplift, vandalize, make poor sexual decisions, etc. The difference is in how their behavior is perceived: (middle class) white kids are "testing their boundaries"; black (and Hispanic, and working-class) kids are criminals.

I think this guy's heart is in the right place, but reverse psychology is key. If the state senate really wanted this to stop, they'd all agree to wear their pants like this for a full term.


I think there is a reason that the black community is interested in trying to stop this, and why it's not the same as white teenagers just "being teenagers".* Like the second poster above said, the key to stopping middle class teens from doing something would be reverse psychology - because they're only doing it to test boundaries and rebel against their boring middle class life. But I don't think the same argument actually applies to urban poor adolescents. They are dealing with a different set of difficulties as teenagers. For the middle class, their parents and role models often (or sometimes, anyway, depends on the kid) seem boring and meaningless, and they rebel against the norms of society in order to see if they could do make something else happen.

For urban poor teens, it's not about boredom or the superficiality of modern living. They are more likely to deal with oppression, fear, hopelessness, general chaos, a lack of role models, and a sense of groundlessness. They aren't trying to rebel against the expectations of their parents. In many cases, they won't feel their parents have expectations of them. They are more likely to pick up styles to emulate people who have got power or control of a situation, rather than to make a statement against those with power. It's just that power where they are coming from is most evident in successful badasses than in successful small business owners. So it isn't a question of testing boundaries, but emulating people who have had success through rejecting society's rules.

* white v black, or urban vs suburban, oversimplifies matters, but the point is just that not every teenager's experience can be equated.
posted by mdn at 11:57 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry, just eating a burger, what'd I miss?
Oh the pants thing, right.
Man, anyone who takes the coming zombie apocalypse seriously at all wouldn't want to trip over their own pants.
Carrying a crowbar - now there's a counterculture statement that says you're ready for, or have done, or are about to do some serious shit.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:05 PM on May 20, 2010


The first time I saw this (sagging skinny jeans) I busted a gut right there laughing at the kid wearing them. I really didn't want to be rude, but watching the duck waddle he was forced to do to manage this style was much too much and I couldn't keep from laughing.

I was just coming here to remark on the same phenomena, and how utterly weird it was that this person had an identical reaction to seeing it as my wife and I. That's when I noticed who it was that made the comment.

*waves*
posted by quin at 1:49 PM on May 20, 2010


Around 1990 or so, I saw a teenager "sagging" for the first time. I was about 10 at the time, and it looked pretty damn cool to me. There were some other strange pants fashions going on then, like pants on backwards (a la Kriss Kross), X-colors or something, etc. but the sag was something I thought I might actually be able to pull off. I had some neon nylon shorts on, and I drooped them a bit myself, and the damn things ripped right down the middle.
posted by mike_bling at 7:33 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, seems to me that if young black males were to collectively adopt crisp suits and bow ties the ridiculous pants trend of the day would be teabaggers wearing Depends adult diapers in the vain hope of mitigating their pants-shitting fear.

Which is why, if Gozer comes back and asks a Teabagger to choose the form of our destructor, it will be Janelle Monae.
posted by condour75 at 10:46 AM on May 21, 2010


and it would be AWESOME
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 AM on May 21, 2010


Maybe they're looking for work as models.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:54 PM on May 24, 2010


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