Baggy Pants Legislation
By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – No one argues that your mother can say ‘you think you’re going out of the house like that?’ but can the government tell you to ‘Pull up those pants, young man’?
Hinds County, Mississippi – apparently having solved all other problems – is currently debating a proposal to make it illegal to wear pants or skirts more than three inches below your hips, showing skin.
The way you dress yourself is a form of expression protected under the first amendment. But that right is not unfettered; when Janet Jackson had her infamous wardrobe malfunction, it was clear that the FCC and other governmental bodies had the right to tell her how she could and couldn’t dress because, while the government can’t tell you how to express yourself, it can limit the time, place, and manner of your expression – like saying you can’t be indecently dressed in public at times of the day.
But if, rather than trying to regulate the time, place and manner of your expression, the government in the pants regulation is actually trying to target the expression of young black men who are largely associated with the trend, then it could face a legal challenge to overturn the law, leaving your fashion choices back to your mother.