City Desk

New Meaning to Old Sagging Pants Trend: “Take My Manhood”

1200989_jeans_textureA really, really, really long time after sagging pants became a trend, the website Grio digs in and asks: What's behind it?

Well, here's what's behind it, according to writer Anthony Calypso: He found one guy who wears them because they're comfortable (boring), a gay woman who said her fellow lesbians wear them to resemble men (less boring), and a psychologist from Georgia who suggests they're about sending homophobic or homoerotic messages (not boring at all)!

Calypso writes that Dr. Darryl Townes

says he has discussed this topic of sagging pants with several colleagues from various states through his affiliation with the Association of Black Psychologists. "[The] style has been transformed into something that represents counter-culture," says Dr. Townes. "It's in our communities, it's in the Hip-Hop culture."

Along with a sense of counter-cultural affiliations, Dr. Townes says that sagging pants have the potential to send both homoerotic and homophobic signals. "It's almost like the young men are daring people to look at their behinds or to take their manhood."

Another expert quoted in the piece, Dr. Wendy Buskey, a clinical psychologist from Prince George's County, apparently hadn't picked up on the take-your-manhood meaning. She did say that "this issue has received a lot more attention because anytime you see underwear, people may be offended by that."

Her advice to parents: If you do anything, don't – don't! – make kids pull them up.

"It's not effective," Dr. Buskey says. "What [adolescents] need at that time is to [be able] to express their point of view. As a parent this is difficult because you do have to allow your children to establish their own identity. For parents, it becomes important to be curious about this style of dress. For some adolescents this style might actually increase their self-esteem or make them feel more comfortable. For another person this type of dress could lead to antisocial behavior."

This, of course, goes against the advice of Barack Obama, who said in an MTV interview last year that while ordinances to ban sagging pants are "a waste of time," "brothers" still "should pull up their pants." But he's not a psychologist.

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  • Grumpy

    What it really means is: I'm a fucking moron, which insults morons everywhere.

    Only a moron wears skinny jeans and a belt and STILL has their fucking pants sagging...No buck 40 soaking wet Pharrell/LilWayne/Fruitbooty rapper of the week (Hello Kanye) wannabe should walk around looking like this without inviting a foot square in their ass

  • Key

    It's a trend that began in prison, where belts are not allowed.

    Thought everyone knew that?

  • Jamie

    I haven't personally tried having the waist of my pants around my upper thighs instead of my waist, but how on earth can it be "comfortable" to have your pants on in such a way that you have to waddle like a duck to keep them from falling down?

  • whet moser

    Wait, no one asked Killer Mike? "We wear our fucking pants big because our mothers were too poor to buy our size, so they had to buy two or three sizes up."

  • Deanwoodenizen

    @key I think the Black community knows that but the homoerotic train of thought is an extension of that. While incarcerated the lower the pants the more available the booty. Get out the joint & you still send a signal albeit a subtle one.
    @whet moser If we are to follow Killer Mike's logic then saggers ought to be running to the store to get clothes their size to prove their wealth e.g. Always on bus fare=buy a lambo, No jewlery/dental care=lace your mouth with diamond-encrusted choppers, Always shufflin' and showin' your drawers should=get a belt, suspenders, right size, whateva to prove I'm rich b***ch! Needless to say Killer Mike didn't think that one through.

  • Nuri

    Finally, an article about sagging pants that isn't dripping with homophobia and/or racism. Good job actually reporting. We don't get much of that in the main stream media. I'm glad to see that City Paper is still beholden to actual journalism.

    Further, I think it's ridiculous how many "experts" in these comments know so much about sagging pants without any cites to any resources.

  • Downtown Rez

    I'm with whet moser- I always figured it was a hand-me-down/buy the next size up thing before it became a style.

  • Manor

    Standards are simply different in communities where so many men have been raped by other men and the social order has been reworked around who is "the bitch". Deal with it and count yourself lucky if you only see it in passing every now and then.

  • Jamnew

    Dr. Buskey is an idiot! It's about self respect. The saggin pants is called jailin and as "Key" said it began in prison. This is not about expressing a point of view, it is peer pressure. The wrong kind. Teach your child to express themselves in a positive manner, not follow the fashion trend of convicts.

  • country boy

    From what i was told when I lived in Hawaii this began as a way for some to get "protection" as in bodily or safety from other prisoners. The sign of a baggy pants meant the person was actually showing their availability to exchange $ex for this protection. Stories come and go but i'm not sure about some of the others. They make sense as ppl have opinions based on where they come from.