Originally published on Care2
Following the lead of Atlanta, Florida and, bizarrely, US Airways, among others, an Indiana town is trying to ban males from wearing their pants “hanging around the buttocks,” according to WSBT.com. The NWI Times reports that in Merrillville, Indiana, officials “are proposing an ordinance that would not allow people to wear their pants more than 3 inches below the hip in public places.”
Now we have to worry about the government intruding not only into our bedrooms, but also into our closets. Forget about the egregious violation of personal liberty — perhaps more worrying is that I’ve seen how government officials dress, and I do not want them in charge of my wardrobe.
But seriously, this would be a scary arrogation of power. “Councilman Ron Widing said he is concerned the proposal could be viewed as unconstitutional,” NWI Times noted. “I don’t know how we can tell anyone how to dress,” Widing said. Governments already ban states of undress, but that seems like a more legitimate issue of public concern than the height of one’s waistband. It’s not like men’s naked butts are hanging out — generally it is just their underwear.
I also have another reason to oppose Merrillville’s proposal: I love the low pants look. Whenever I need a smile, I can just look around for some guy with his pants around his groin and have a nice laugh. As I have noted elsewhere on this blog, it’s funny that they have to grab their pants all the time so they don’t fall down. It’s funny that they can’t walk normally because their pants constrict everything between their knees and their hips. And it’s funny that they think this is a good look for them.
Interestingly, Merrillville is not proposing to ban miniskirts, low-cut push-up tops, high heels (which actually injure women), or other clothes that reveal nearly all the skin a woman has. Instead it has aimed at a style that shows men’s boxers. What exactly are the Indiana officials trying to accomplish? Are they afraid that seeing some plaid fabric on a man will cause the citizenry to riot, but sanguine about the sight of an arresting amount of female flesh and the maiming of women’s feet?
Whatever their motivations, I hope that Merrillville’s leaders keep their sartorial preferences to themselves and let the rest of us make our own choices, however misguided.