Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Origins of Baggy Jeans vis-à-vis Homosexuality: Urban Myth or Reality?

When I was in college I was told that the trend of wearing one’s jeans below one’s belt began in prisons. Wearing one’s pants below the belt and exposing your Hanes essentially signified that you engaged in homosexual behavior. As of late, however, I’ve heard that this argument is an urban myth. The true origin of this trend, some would say, is poverty. They would say that poor parents, in search of a bargain, bought baggy jeans because they were more economical. Jeans were bought in sizes that were much larger to accommodate for later growth. They were low-slung because in many cases brothers couldn’t afford belts or because the jeans were handed down from an older relative. So is the idea that low-slung baggy pants originated in prisons as an indicator that one was a homosexual an urban myth?

5 comments:

E said...

I always thought baggy jeans originated from jail culture too, but not as a form of signaling of sexual preference but because inmates were not allowed belts as belts could be used as weapons or more importantly, for suicide. I think there is some legal liability (vicarious???) that can be attached to prisons if a prisoner commits suicide since inmates are in the care and custody of the prison and are due a certain degree of protection, even from themselves.

Brother Lightness said...

I also had the above understanding.

Anonymous said...

sagging came from jail but baggy jeans did not. in jail they werent allowed belts or even rope because some suidical inmates could use it to kill themselves. baggy jeans originated from poor familys buying jeans for there children to wear for years so they wouldnt outgrow them. it just happens both had an influence on fashion.

Brother Smartness said...

I was really more interested in talking about the urban myth aspect of this trend and it's connection to homosexuality.

The idea that low-slung jeans indicated homosexuality is being uttered by many an individual in the hopes that a youngin' might be scared into thinking he should pull his pants up.

In many ways, it's sad that the baggy jean trend was sissified (yes that's a word) by some people in order to deter a potential trend follower. What does this say about us?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I had heard that sagging jeans in jail meant you were "spoken for".(never even considered the very logical belt explanation!!!!)..but having grown up poor, I can see the other side as well as when a guy has to wear jeans that are too small (tight) or too short (highwaters, floods--slang varies from place to place), he will pull them down a bit so that they appear to be neither......

www.myspace.com/msjulala