Whether you like the look or not, this ordinance seems a little trivial. (Photo: Getty Images)
A town in South Carolina is taking it upon itself to create a dress code for public spaces. Last Tuesday, the Timmonsville Town Council approved an ordinance that punishes people who choose to wear “sagging pants.”
The ordinance — No. 543 — passed with a vote five to one and prohibits anyone engaging in public nudity, displaying pornographic material in public, or wearing trousers or shorts that expose undergarments, the Washington Times reports.
That’s right, sagging pants are now illegal in the town of Timmonsville, S.C. While first offenders will receive only a verbal warning, if the law is repeatedly violated, offenders could face up to a $600 fine.
“We’re trying to build up our town. And we can have the business, but if the people are not looking somewhat decent, then we have the business, but because of the people, they’ll be scared to get out of their cars,” said Councilman Walter Washington after he proposed the ordinance last month.
While these measures to restrict saggy pants might seem a bit extreme, Timmonsvile is surprisingly not the only town to do so. Louisiana’s Terrebonne Parish banned saggy pants back in 2013, charging first-time offenders $50, second-time offenders $100, and $100 plus 16 hours of community service for a third offense. North Lawndale in Chicago and Newton, New Jersey, have long been considering the ban as well.
While some might see this as a measure directed at African-Americans, the Huffington Post reports that the Louisiana Terrebone Parish local NAACP chapter wholeheartedly agreed with the saggy pants ban. Jerome Boykin, the group’s president at the time, explained, “There is nothing positive about people wearing saggy pants. This is not a black issue; this is not a white issue — this is a people issue.”
Whether you agree with the ban or not, it does seem like a breach of people’s freedom to wear what they wish. While people are always encouraged to dress appropriately for things like work, family events, or church, it seems rather trivial to attempt to regulate what people wear during their own personal free time.