No more droopy drawer: South Carolina town bans 'sagging pants'

The ban aims to 'maintain decorum' on the streets. © Amanda Elizabeth
A South Carolina town council has passed an ordinance that will ban “sagging pants”, hitting residents with fines for their crimes of fashion.

Timmonsville’s council voted five to one to ban “public nudity, displaying pornographic material in public, or wearing trousers or shorts where undergarments are exposed.”

The sagging pants ban is said to maintain decorum on the streets, and help young people make better choices.  

“My 8-year-olds have pointed out to me men with their belt buckles right over their privates. That, in my eyes, is very near exposure.” a local mother said.

Anyone caught with their pants down twice in Timmonsville will be added to a repeat offenders registry and then face a $600 fine for every ‘saggy trouser’ incident thereafter.

Some question the validity of a clothing ban on the basis of freedom of expression and censorship. At an earlier reading of the ordinance, councilwoman Cheryl Qualls raised the issue of racial targeting. “It will increase racial profiling on some of our children here in Timmonsville and across the country.” she said

Timmonsville is not the first US town to ban the offending clothing. In 2010, Dublin, Georgia passed a law banning pants and skirts that fall “more than three inches below the top of the hips, exposing the skin or undergarments.”

The saggy pants hip-hop connection opens such bans to criticism for racial profiling.

Ocala, Florida was forced to overturn its saggy pants ban after the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) threatened to take legal action against the city for targeting black males. "I'm sorry, it's going to be black males that are the subject of this," NAACP’s Dale Landry said.

Arkansas’ Henderson University also faced accusations of racism when it posted signs banning sagging pants from a student center.

The signs were taken down after two days, and the administration apologized.