City Paper is not for tourists
A really, really, really long time after sagging pants became a trend, the website Grio digs in and asks: What’s behind it?
Well, here’s what’s behind it, according to writer Anthony Calypso: He found one guy who wears them because they’re comfortable (boring), a gay woman who said her fellow lesbians wear them to resemble men (less boring), and a psychologist from Georgia who suggests they’re about sending homophobic or homoerotic messages (not boring at all)!
Calypso writes that Dr. Darryl Townes
says he has discussed this topic of sagging pants with several colleagues from various states through his affiliation with the Association of Black Psychologists. “[The] style has been transformed into something that represents counter-culture,” says Dr. Townes. “It’s in our communities, it’s in the Hip-Hop culture.”
Along with a sense of counter-cultural affiliations, Dr. Townes says that sagging pants have the potential to send both homoerotic and homophobic signals. “It’s almost like the young men are daring people to look at their behinds or to take their manhood.”
Another expert quoted in the piece, Dr. Wendy Buskey, a clinical psychologist from Prince George’s County, apparently hadn’t picked up on the take-your-manhood meaning. She did say that “this issue has received a lot more attention because anytime you see underwear, people may be offended by that.”
Her advice to parents: If you do anything, don’t – don’t! – make kids pull them up.
“It’s not effective,” Dr. Buskey says. “What [adolescents] need at that time is to [be able] to express their point of view. As a parent this is difficult because you do have to allow your children to establish their own identity. For parents, it becomes important to be curious about this style of dress. For some adolescents this style might actually increase their self-esteem or make them feel more comfortable. For another person this type of dress could lead to antisocial behavior.”
This, of course, goes against the advice of Barack Obama, who said in an MTV interview last year that while ordinances to ban sagging pants are “a waste of time,” “brothers” still “should pull up their pants.” But he’s not a psychologist.