In February of 2005, the state of Virginia proposed a “Droopy Drawers” bill. The House voted 60-34 for this bill (Bellantoni), but was later shot down by the Senate. If passed, one would have been facing a fifty-dollar fine for sagging. “It's not an attack on baggy pants,” said delegate Algie T Howell Jr., “To vote for this bill would be a vote for character, to uplift your community and to do something good not only for the state of Virginia, but for this entire country,” (Bellantoni). My attention was brought to this bill by my father, who sent me an email with the newspaper article attached. All he added in the email was, “…You probably shouldn't be heading to Virginia anytime soon.” My father often gives me flack for wearing my pants so low. His email made me laugh, but the newspaper article did not. Delegate Howell's statement seriously bothered me, mainly in that it labeled the act of sagging a parasitic behavior undermining community values; as if raising one's pants will thus uplift one's community.
[...] In middle school and junior high, having a sense of belonging is particularly important for students because of the need to gap the sharp transition from grade school as smoothly as possible. Though there is some authoritative guidance in middle school and junior high, less protection and direction is provided to students as they are encouraged to develop and grow with less institutionalized force. Hormones, along with sex education and P.E., instead of recess, alter student's perceptions drastically when compared to what they have experienced thus far. [...]
[...] Inmates are refused the right to possess belts as they are identified as possible weapons and can easily aide in the act of suicide. Thus, the pants of prison uniforms tended to sag or droop. As inmates were released, the practice continued outside the prison walls. Scholars interested in sagging have focused primarily on the act as a compliment to violent gang activity. They tend to limit their studies to African-American communities, particularly to life in the ghettos, and view the act as an expression of Black culture. [...]
[...] Others include sub-cultures that are responsible for their sagging (like skaters for #26 and hip-hop for while additional informants in this group cite sagging as a useful tool to convey their individual identity (like pissing people off for #16 and conveying a just don't give a fuck attitude for #14). As for sagging being more comfortable, the informants who provided this answer certainly have a right to believe so, but I would point out that the only opportunity to discover one way of wearing your pants as being more comfortable than another is by trying. [...]
[...] Mass incarceration over the last thirty years, in which more than half of the prisoners are African- American, though these make up only 12% of the population (Smith), means that prison is a reality facing many African-Americans. According to O'connor, a professor at North Carolina Wesleyan College, “Sagging was exported to the streets [from prison] as an expression of African American solidarity as well as a way to offend white society,”(Counterpunch.org). In this regard, sagging as a form of cultural expression for modern day black males shares similarities with the 1940's pachucos, Mexican-American youths who often formed gangs. [...]
[...] Of my thirty-two informants, I interviewed two more in depth, whereas the other thirty informants provided answers to just two questions. Thus, the majority of my informants were asked only the two following questions: When did you start sagging and why do you sag? The other two interviews consisted in discussing sagging and the questions I asked were not confined to specific inquiries. These informants were acquainted with me prior to the interview, whereas the other thirty informants were not. [...]
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