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Saggy Pants Bans on Upswing as Second NJ Beach Town Mull Restrictions

Aug 21, 2013 1:00 am

Skift Take

Saggy pants bans touch tourism and also people wanting to just walk or ride around the nation’s cities in their everyday lives. Why is it that some legislators and their constituents have such distaste for others who don’t look or dress the way they do? The bans do indeed have racist overtones.

— Dennis Schaal

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Wayne Parry  / Associated Press

In a June 6, 2013 photo, a young man wears saggy pants on the Wildwood, N.J. boardwalk. Wayne Parry / Associated Press


As Wildwood goes, so goes the nation — when it comes to the resort town’s saggy pants law.

After the New Jersey shore town banned saggy pants on its boardwalk in what supposedly was a bid to draw tourists after Hurricane Sandy with a family friendly atmosphere, similar prohibitions have come under consideration in other municipalities, including a second New Jersey town and even St. Louis, Missouri.

This week the Penns Grove, New Jersey, borough council introduced an ordinance that would have the police department levy $25 fines when people are caught within its borders wearing sagging pants that reveal peoples’ underwear.

And, this isn’t just a New Jersey trend, although a pizzeria in the state didn’t need a new law to post a sign telling patrons that if they don’t pull up their pants, they can forget about getting served slices and pizza pies.

In St. Louis, Missouri, lawmakers are discussing a bill that would ban saggy pants, supposedly as a way to tighten up its crime prevention efforts.

In fact, according to one St. Louis resident, there are 117 municipalities in the country that currently ban saggy pants, although that number could not be immediately verified.

A lot of people charge that saggy pants bans are a not-so-subtle way to discourage visits by black youth, and others who have taken on the hip-hop look that grew out of the prison lifestyle.

Defenders of the ban, however, claim the bans would encourage family values and decency, and that everything is on the up and up.

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