BATON ROUGE, La. – A Baton Rouge Metro Council member wants the parish to support a public awareness campaign against men who wear their pants so low that their boxer shorts show. Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle has a slogan for the campaign: "Low pants, no chance."
"I hate to see it and I see so much of it in my district," Marcelle said. "It's disrespectful to the elderly, to young kids and to women."
Her resolution, on the agenda for discussion Wednesday, says wearing saggy pants creates negative stereotypes and that "those who wear saggy pants are hurting their chances of becoming employable, educated and productive citizens."
Marcelle said she'd like to pass a law allowing police to cite and fine people for wearing saggy pants that expose their underwear, but recognizes that constitutional issues prevent such a law.
A public-awareness campaign is the next-best thing to try to get these young men to hitch up their pants, she said.
Councilman Rodney "Smokie" Bourgeois and Councilwomen Donna Collins-Lewis and Ronnie Edwards say they support Mercelle's proposal.
"How are you going to get a job with your pants down around your knees?" Bourgeois asked.
However, Councilman Scott Wilson questioned whether young people would pay any attention to the campaign, and said proper dress is something that should be dealt with at home, rather than by the council.
The trend may be on its way out anyway, said Doze Y. Butler, professor of apparel, merchandising and textiles at Southern University.
Fewer men wore saggy pants last semester on the Baton Rouge campus, she said.
And, she noted, she saw a variant — "MC Hammer-type pants — on a study tour to Europe. They're baggy and have low crotches, but the waistlines are high enough to cover underwear, butler said.
"I think it's a trend that's finally moving on," she said.