As states, cities, and activists across the U.S. either outlaw or hold belt rallies to draw attention to the trend of “saggin’,” Delcambre, La. (pop. 1,700) last week took the boldest step yet, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Getting caught with one’s pants too far down could now cost $500 in fines – or six months in jail. Taking cues from prison culture, where belts are banned, the trend has been around for several years, moving from urban hip-hop centers like Atlanta and New York out into the boonies.
The legal issue is whether wearing one’s pants too low is indecent, especially if all that’s showing is heavily branded underwear. “This is an effort to legislate taste and morality as opposed to any legitimate case that this is indecent exposure,” argues Robert Thompson, a pop-culture expert at Syracuse University. In Delcambre, where life revolves around the church and the bayou, sponsors of the antisagging law acknowledge potential legal tangles. “We don’t know if we can enforce it, but we’re going to try,” says Mayor Carol Broussard.