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Why Do Young People Sag Their Pants?

It was a sunny afternoon, and I was waiting for the public transportation to arrive. After a few minutes, the city bus stopped a few feet in front of us, a few passengers waiting to board & me. I was 15 at the time, wearing a black durag on my head, a white tee, and my pants sagging below my waist. The bus was packed. Every seat was occupied, and 5-6 people were standing as the bus continued its route. I found an empty spot in the back of the bus and decided it was where I wanted to stand. 

 

As I walked towards the back section, I had to squeeze behind people. Both of my legs were so close together they were touching each other. Then the worst thing happened... my pants dropped. There I was, pants completely down to my ankles, on a bus full of strangers. 

 

I pulled my pants back up in a hurry attempting to laugh it off as a joke. However, a guy standing in front of me gave me a dirty look. I guess he didn't think it was so funny. It was the single most embarrassing moment of my life. Now in my 30s, I think back to that moment. I no longer sag my pants, but I decided to do it for old-times sake in the comfort of my apartment. It was short-lived. It felt too uncomfortable walking like that—my, how times changed.

Why Do People Sag Their Pants?

Cool Factor

I sagged my pants for the same reason I purchased flashy jewelry but struggled to pay for items at a Dollar Tree. It's part of street culture. The friends I hung out with and the rappers I aspired to be like all sagged their pants. In street fashion, it's considered a 'cool' thing. It makes you feel connected with others within the culture and fit in with the group.

Attraction Factor

Another reason people sagged their pants is to attract women. It's no secret that many women like bad boys, and in street culture, sagging your pants personifies that rugged, tattooed, thug look that some women are attracted to.

 

Sagging the pants is primarily an adolescent street fashion and trend that eventually phases out when you get older. Although the 'sag' is mainly popular among young African Americans, Hispanic and White Americans also do it. It has especially crossed over into the skateboard culture.

How to Get People to Stop Sagging Their Pants?

Many people can't stand this fashion trend. It's been the topic of many debates. To some degree, it's understandable. Several U.S. cities, including those in Tennessee, New Jersey, and Florida, have made sagging illegal. City officials enacted a law to fine people who sag their pants up to $500. Others have threatened offenders with arrests and jail time. What usually ends up happening when young people are told what to do? They ignore the authorities. Council member of Ocala, Florida, Mary Sue Rich, went further and insulted people who sag their pants by stating, "I would wager 9 out of 10 of them don't have jobs." But isn't it a council member's duty to get them jobs?

 

Nonetheless, Mary Sue Rich is one of many who are tired of the street fashion. President Obama told MTV, "Brothers should pull up their pants. That doesn't mean you have to pass a law ... but that doesn't mean folks can't have some sense and some respect for other people. And, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear — I'm one of them."

 

In December 2022, Hip Hop Singer Akon received backlash for his statement about Africans being better performers than African American artists. The 'Locked Up' artist said African American artists "be wobbling" "with their pants hanging half down" and "high as hell."

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