Recently, this somehow popped up on my Facebook:
Though I don’t agree with “you look like a Fing retard” phrasing, I get the outrage and perplexity over underwear exposure.
Of course, skimpy fitting garments, worn in the established acceptable settings, such as a bathing suit at the beach, doesn’t seem inappropriate in any regards (debatable to many is still the thong). But it’s rather that underwear exposure, especially on the male form, especially when it’s perception isn’t completely understood – “does his clothes just not fit him – or is he trying to say something?” – which has continued a running debate over public decency.
I decided to join the debate and debunk it all to what I think is REALLY GOING ON…
A bunch of people dislike me for posting the reasoning for this fashion trend, but, so be it. The following is what I SPECULATE to be the reasons and conditions why EXPOSED BUTT has manifested all over our great nation. If you need more scientific data, try Price Waterhouse… Okay… here goes:
*fashion street cred created when a disproportionate amount of African-American males were released from prison in clothes that no longer fit them due to loss of weight and lack of belts
*latent homosexual longings
*boom in male underwear advertising in the 1990’s
*a combination of all the above which first manifests itself as rebellion without acknowledging its deeper suggestions
Though the popularity of the baggy-saggy pant/exposed underwear phenomenon has reached every city and township from Camden, New Jersey to Anchorage, Alaska, the primary roots of the baggy-saggy pant/exposed underwear, appeared to be first capitalized by African-American hip hop artists and rappers in the 1990’s. These artists seemed to reflect, profess, or promote the stories, voices and visuals of what was the lifestyles or plight of their communities. It is also true that due to the severity of criminal laws that punish petty crimes, that a disproportionate amount of African-American males have been incarcerated into a privatized prison system where urban, poverty stricken minorities become the cash cow to corporate correctional facilities. These are a few primary reasons as to the association with African-American males and the baggy-saggy pant/exposed underwear phenomenon with it’s origins profiled to a specific race of men. Regardless, the fashion statement no longer has a preference to race or gender…
The first fashionistas to render this clothing style appeared to be men recently released from prison. It has been cited that some of this was due to the fact men are not allowed to wear belts in prison, thus the pants sagging. Judge Greg Mathis also has been cited on wikipedia with his thoughts on the origins, that being the mere ban of belts in prison. But I think there’s a little more to it. Sure, people adapt to their surroundings and limitations, but adapting because something becomes an exciting new fad have different root meanings.
Upon the release of many incarcerated individuals back to their communities of origin, their original clothes before incarceration generally don’t fit and appear oversized because of the loss of weight while incarcerated… throw in “I no longer have a belt” and you have the blueprint to a specific wardrobe malfunction.
Thus, once released into the community, the visual of the oversized clothing now becomes associated with rebellion, trouble, and to some – a right of passage – an earned credential in which the credited university is a maximum security prison. The individual clearly is associated with an epic change and cultural shift from the more conservative attire landscape they originated from.
Compounding this fashion change is the rebellious nature and stigmas associated with it. Non-incarcerated individuals, who want to garner the same attention and allude to the same visuals associated with the rebellious spirit procure and reproduce these fashions to their own tailoring – thus contributing to the persona of also being formerly incarcerated, a thug, a troublemaker, a rebel etc.
What also compounds the visual is the adjustments to the visual stimulus. As a self-aware, stylized fashion, it is not only to signify one’s reference to cultural rebellion, but to adjust the visual to give clear attention and indication to the male buttocks which has a sociopathic reverence or heightened anxiety or enticement due to a multitude of stigmas placed on male sexuality.
The paradox of using the exposed underwear as enticement juxtaposed against the harsh realities of prison life and the impact on the African-American community is another conversation onto itself. The prison system, unfortunately, is where many men who would normally not engage in homosexual behavior now become engaged in homosexual activities or male-on-male sex due to rape, protection, friendship, lack of women, trade or commerce. Outside of the world of incarceration, the engagement of homosexual activity is still largely stigmatized and has a particular stigma in the African-American community. Some of this stigma is based on the belief systems of the church and the stigma of the lack of mobility in society being a minority within a minority. The stigma is also heightened by the role that men play in the foundation of the family structure and how the male’s power and mobility shifts if he is now viewed as being an irresponsible member of society – somehow working against it through choices, as if the implication of sexual orientation is an educated and primal choice.
What exacerbates this fashion trend to further conundrums in conservative society are the trends and implications of exposing one’s undergarments, especially if those individuals are grown men.
There is a natural reaction and implied calculation that exposing one’s undergarments is an invitation to provoke sexual excitement. Then, of course, there is the implication that if an individual cannot cover up their undergarments that they are unaware or just plain sloppy.
Therefore, when the male form is intent on exposing his undergarments to enhance the visual to his buttock, the sexual implication is this individual would perhaps like to engage in homoerotic anal intercourse – specifically him being the receiver of another male penetrating him. This behavior may not directly express this invitation, rather a latent disguise. Then of course, there is the simple implication that this male with the exposed underwear is always in the perpetual state of undress, which is also sexual in nature regardless of orientation or pansexual.
Then of course, there is the claiming of what has already been prevalent in our modern world of advertising… the selling of male sexuality. Mark Wahlberg aka Marky Mark was wildly known through his 1992 Calvin Klein underwear campaign. The concept of the Bruce Weber photo campaign was then rising star Mark Wahlberg wore the Calvin Klein underwear, where a little exposure from the top band of your underwear, label name exposed, sold your status as a sexy trend setter and became a catalyst for future imitators. Mind you, Calvin Klein in the 90’s still adhered to supporting the male physique with showing the exposed label of the underwear or featuring a male model in nothing but his underwear. The actual sagging, almost falling trouser style manifested without his direction.
In reviewing all this above data, we see how fashion has been influenced by the socioeconomic displacement of incarcerated minorities, society’s stigmas, the natural association with youth rebellion, the world of advertising. and basically – guys who like it up the butt.
Personally, I think the sagging look appears as if a guy just took a major sh*t in his pants. Although, the fully exposed ass does make me think “he totally wants it up the butt.”.
Penny for your thoughts? Lol