Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fashion Police

Lynwood, a suburb of Chicago, has a new municipal ordinance: You can be fined $25 if three inches or more of your underwear is showing in public. The ordinance is aimed at droopy-drawered young men in particular. The rationale is that economic development in Lynwood is adversely affected by these fashion violations because they keep shoppers and retailers away.

Predictably, this has caused a storm of protest, with various groups charging that the ordinance is (pick one):

* sexist because it's aimed at males.

* racist because it targets the fashions of young men of color (This is the ACLU position).

* impossible to enforce without wandering around with a ruler, measuring BVDs, and cops should have better things to do with their time.

* an infringement on the personal right to wear whatever one likes.

* ridiculous.

When I was teaching Odyssey last week, we did world-building. One of the things we considered was: What is a crime in your SF or fantasy society? This question is good for yielding plot developments. However, no one, including me, came up with "exposed underwear."

You just can't predict even the near future.


Sophie said...

"impossible to enforce without wandering around with a ruler".
I beg to differ, and I have vintage evidence. Was ridiculous and sexist in 1922, still is, and more, today.

TheOFloinn said...

T'other day while driving home from Pere's, Margie and I saw a young man of pallor walking along the sidewalk. His pants were belted about mid-thigh, just at the bottom edge of his drawers. How he managed to walk I don't know; but it certainly illustrated in visual terms Chuck Norris' criticism of Jesse Jackson and the latter's comment on Obama: "Just because you have the right to say something doesn't mean it's in good taste to say it."

Oh, well. I used to wear a paisley shirt over tartan trousers. (Stewart Hunting tartan, in case you're interested.) The Republic survived.

g d townshende said...

Fashions change, and so do the standards by which they are policed. May the fashion police be 'cuffed!

Nancy Kress said...

That photo on the URL is priceless!

Steven Francis Murphy said...

Having chased a couple of clowns dressed like this in one of my previous jobs as a security officer, I say let them dress like this.

They invariably trip and fall down which makes my job easier.

Same goes for the two hundred dollar shoes they never tie.

And I would point out that the ACLU is wrong, whites wear their clothes this way as well.

Some problems really are self eliminating.

S. F. Murphy

Ann Wilkes said...

Well, I can make one prediction. They will still walk funny and have back aches as old men, long after they've gone back to pants that fit.

Did you know that the average "normal" American spine is WAY more curved than those of 1930? The cause? Here's a theory that's been put forward: The flappers. Women stood differently because of their dresses and their children learned from them. Now we need lumbar cushions, chiropractors and muscle relaxers to get us through the day while people in other countries carry great weight on their shoulders or even their heads while walking bare foot and smiling. If the theory is correct, that fashion left its mark on future generations of Americans.