Sagging pants an expression in question

Meghan Marquardt

There is nothing more poetic in this world than a perfectly sagging pair of blue jeans. The way the waistband manages to cling to the thighs of the wearer ,just barely saving them from a citation for indecent exposure—fabulous.  The artistically rumpled pair of boxer shorts exposed to the world—inspired.  The way the excess fabric pools effortlessly around the wearer’s tennis shoes, framing the overly-white leather like an angel’s halo–exquisite. Yes, one can almost immediately envision a future where the topmost echelon of fashion consists of thousands, nay, millions of models parading down the runway with their thongs exposed, their sagging waistbands perfectly framing their thin, graceful hips.

Okay, so maybe I hold a bit of contempt for those who choose to wear their pants practically at their feet. Maybe it’s my overwhelming sense of practicality. Perhaps it’s a certain air of fashion snobbery, or  just a sense of jealousy that my own pants do not defy gravity on a regular basis.  Whatever the reason, I don’t like it when people wear their pants “a la gangsta.”

Maybe it’s because I am forced to see things that I don’t want to see. Really, making people view your nearly-bare backside conveys a certain air of disrespect.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe that fashion is an important aspect of individual expression. But where does individualism become disregard for others—or in this case, their poor, innocent eyes?  It is an issue that’s perhaps under-considered, especially by our age group: the balance between individual expression and respect.

If you go to, you’ll find that the definition of individualism is both “1 a (1): a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount; also: conduct guided by such a doctrine” and “2 a: individuality.” This is an indication that individuality can easily become disrespect.

When we focus on our own needs (in this case, the need for expression), we can sometimes forget that our actions impact others. We’ve seen it our whole lives—you remember the kid who felt he was above waiting in line on pizza day in elementary school, so you ended up having to take pepperoni when you really wanted cheese? Expression can act in a similar manner. If we forget that our actions affect others, we can end up unintentionally hurting people. This is a tricky situation—are sagging pants merely a nuisance, or do they encroach on the rights of the people who are forced to view them?  Is it okay to force your expression on others?  What if that expression is conveying a social or political message? What if it’s just an expression of individuality?

It’s something to consider. In our daily lives, we come into contact with hundreds, if not thousands, of people who may not appreciate the same modes of expression or ideas that we do. This is a given. For example, my “little” football-playing, power-lifting brother thinks that it’s cool to fall asleep to rap music with the bass turned all the way up. Because I was trying to sleep in the room beneath his, I disagreed. So I knocked on his door and told him to shut off his music. His right to express himself was getting in my way. I had the right to tell him to stop, didn’t I? Was my right to sleep more important than his right to enjoy his music? This is a problem that has no definitive answer, because there are two parties involved, and both have the right to, well, their rights.

So, what do we need to do? My suggestion is a little bit of thought, as well as compromise.  Take the time to consider the impact that you are having when you express yourself in public and find a way to do so with both individuality and respect, and realize that there may be consequences if you don’t. For example, if you want to expose your underwear for the entire world to see, understand that others (like me) may not appreciate it, and realize that I have the right to (good-naturedly) poke a bit of fun at you. It’s really a matter of thought.  It’s important to find a balance: for example, try balancing your pants on your hips … please?