Sagging Pants = Indecent Exposure?

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Alissa_Sal's picture
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Sagging Pants = Indecent Exposure?

http://articles.sfgate.com/2011-06-16/bay-area/29664186_1_pants-plane-indecent-exposure

SAN FRANCISCO -- A dispute that began after a passenger refused to pull up his sagging pants led to his arrest and removal from a plane at San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday, police said.

Deshon Marman, 20, a University of New Mexico football player who was in the city to attend the funeral of a close friend, former Lincoln High School standout David Henderson, was being held at San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of trespassing, battery and resisting arrest.

Marman grew up a block from Henderson in the Bayview neighborhood, and the two were teammates at Lincoln High School and City College of San Francisco before they transferred to separate four-year universities. Henderson was shot May 26 on Kirkwood Avenue and died 11 days later.

On Wednesday, San Francisco police got a call about 9 a.m. that someone was exposing himself outside a US Airways gate, Sgt. Michael Rodriguez said.

An airline employee spotted Marman before he boarded Flight 488, bound for Albuquerque, and complained that Marman's pants "were below his buttocks but above the knees, and that much of his boxer shorts were exposed," Rodriguez said.

The employee asked Marman to pull up his pants before he boarded the plane, but he refused, Rodriguez said. Marman allegedly repeated his refusal after taking his seat on the plane.

"At that point he was asked to leave the plane," Rodriguez said. "It took 15 to 20 minutes of talking to get him to leave the plane, and he was arrested for trespassing." Marman allegedly resisted officers as he was being led away.

Marman's mother, Donna Doyle, said he was still in an emotionally raw state after attending Henderson's funeral Tuesday, where he spoke of his intention to honor his friend's memory by making it to the NFL.

Doyle said she had encouraged her son to leave soon after the funeral.

"I didn't want him to stay here in the city because of what happened to David," Doyle said. "A lot of it is jealousy. These kids are trying to make it, they're going off to college and other people get jealous."

She added that her son was targeted at the airport "because of the way he looks - young black man with dreads and baggy pants. But he's a good kid trying to make it, and he's going through a lot. And then this happens."

Valerie Wunder, a spokeswoman for US Airways, said the airline's dress code forbids "indecent exposure or inappropriate" attire.

Marman was being held on $11,000 bail.

I realize that he was actually arrested for refusing to leave the plane and resisting arrest. My question is, should they have asked him to leave the plane in the first place? Do you consider exposed boxer shorts to be "indecent exposure?"

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To answer my own question, no I think that's very very silly. I realize that some people are really annoyed by seeing someone's underwear, but I maintain that seeing a cloth covered behind is not indecent exposure. Boxer shorts are exactly that - still shorts. I maintain that if you can't see skin, it's not indecent exposure, and that it was ridiculous for the airline to ask him to pull up his pants and/or ask him to leave over it.

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I think that he should have just complied to avoid getting arrested for something stupid, but I can see his point of view. I think that he was just standing up for something that he believed in, or in his case, a fashion statement that he was trying to make. Come on, tons of women wear EXTREMELY low cut shirts to show off the "goods" and a lot of women and teens wear shorts that their butts literally hang out of, and I can guarantee no one would have said anything to them about their appearances... especially if they were hot! Unless he was exposing himself, it should have been left alone... period.

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So it would be OK for a woman to let her thong or panties show completely like this guy was letting his boxers? No, it wouldn't. He was asked by personnel to pull up his pants, instead of resisting...he should have followed direction. I really doubt that they targeted him because he was a "young black man" like the Mother said in the article; I would hope they'd do the same to any person showing their underwear.

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But the difference is that if a woman were showing her thong panties, you should be seeing a lot of bare skin. Boxer shorts are underwear, sure, but that is just the cultural meaning that we attach to them. They are still shorts, and still offer full coverage of a person's nether regions.

When I was in middle school, it was actually fashionable for young women to wear boxer shorts as regular shorts, so I have actually been out in public wearing boxer shorts with no pants on top at all. If you saw a young lady wearing boxer shorts style shorts and a t shirt with no pants on top, would you call that indecent and expect her to go change before she could board an airplane? I wouldn't. So I can't imagine how wearing boxer shorts with pants on top is any more indecent.

ETA: Imagine a 12 year old girl in an airport dressed like this: http://www.overstock.com/Clothing-Shoes/Leisureland-Womens-I-Love-My-Dog-Boxer-Shorts/5562104/product.html?cid=123620

Indecent? No? So why would it be more indecent if it were a man wearing that PLUS a pair of pants?

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The question isn't whether boxer shorts are "indecent exposure" or whether the request was appropriate, but whether Mr. Marmon's response to the request was appropriate. It was not, and he absolutely should not have been allowed on that plane if he wouldn't follow crew instructions. Sometimes in an airport the requested action isn't so much to get the requested result as it is to ensure that that person will follow directions/instructions when on the plane. Better to deal with a biligerent irate person on land than at 30K feet. A recent example: I was flying with bags of frozen breastmilk, still frozen completely solid, which I declared before my bag went through the scanner. Per FAA regulations frozen items are not required to be screened for explosives, but I was asked to step aside & have them screened. I could have, maybe should have, refused because the request was clearly outside of FAA requirements, but I did it anyway. And I flew home without interruption.

ETA: did you guys see this? A businessman flies around the country in women's underwear (so does Lady Gaga) because it's fun & breaks up the boredom of long flights & airport waits. I'm sure it's a conversation starter, for sure! And he says whenever crew asks him to cover up, he does, which is why we never heard about him before now. I'm also pretty certain it reduces the need for pat-downs, LOL!

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I disagree. I think it's ridiculous to think that people should submit to any request, however unreasonable, or else be kicked off a plane. If he actually were wearing something inappropriate, or behaving in a way that was dangerous or upsetting to the crew and other passengers, then I would agree that they had every right to ask him to change or else risk being booted off the plane. But that's not what happened. He was wearing a commonly seen fashion that does not reveal any more skin or anything more indecent than you would see on any other pair of shorts, and they asked him to change because someone just didn't like it. Unreasonable. If I show up wearing my favorite dress (which does not show much skin or is not super tight) and the stewardess asks me to change it simply because she doesn't like the pattern, am I obligated to change it or get kicked off the plane? Absolutely not - that's crazy.

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"Starryblue702" wrote:

I think that he should have just complied to avoid getting arrested for something stupid, but I can see his point of view. I think that he was just standing up for something that he believed in, or in his case, a fashion statement that he was trying to make. Come on, tons of women wear EXTREMELY low cut shirts to show off the "goods" and a lot of women and teens wear shorts that their butts literally hang out of, and I can guarantee no one would have said anything to them about their appearances... especially if they were hot! Unless he was exposing himself, it should have been left alone... period.

If I remember correctly a woman got the boot from a Southwest flight a few years ago for wearing something too revealing for the airline's liking. I think she was wearing a very short skirt or something.

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"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

If I remember correctly a woman got the boot from a Southwest flight a few years ago for wearing something too revealing for the airline's liking. I think she was wearing a very short skirt or something.

I remember that as well.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

He was wearing a commonly seen fashion that does not reveal any more skin or anything more indecent than you would see on any other pair of shorts, and they asked him to change because someone just didn't like it. Unreasonable. If I show up wearing my favorite dress (which does not show much skin or is not super tight) and the stewardess asks me to change it simply because she doesn't like the pattern, am I obligated to change it or get kicked off the plane? Absolutely not - that's crazy.

It's an airport runway, not a fashion runway. He was wearing a fashion commonly seen among gangsters and thugs and other people who often refuse to do what they are told. I think the ground crew was right to make sure that he wasn't one of them, with a simple request to pull up his pants. Gang members & hoodlums are allowed to fly -- if they can show a reasonable amount of respect for the authority of the flight crew. If someone just doesn't like the orange & purple plaid of your dress, you're right, being asked to remove it would be no good. If, however, your dress features a pattern notorious among local gang members, then a request to put on a sweater might be a reasonable request. It's a quick & easy way to distinguish a troublemaker, not by the clothing but by the response.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

But the difference is that if a woman were showing her thong panties, you should be seeing a lot of bare skin. Boxer shorts are underwear, sure, but that is just the cultural meaning that we attach to them. They are still shorts, and still offer full coverage of a person's nether regions.

When I was in middle school, it was actually fashionable for young women to wear boxer shorts as regular shorts, so I have actually been out in public wearing boxer shorts with no pants on top at all. If you saw a young lady wearing boxer shorts style shorts and a t shirt with no pants on top, would you call that indecent and expect her to go change before she could board an airplane? I wouldn't. So I can't imagine how wearing boxer shorts with pants on top is any more indecent.

ETA: Imagine a 12 year old girl in an airport dressed like this: http://www.overstock.com/Clothing-Shoes/Leisureland-Womens-I-Love-My-Dog-Boxer-Shorts/5562104/product.html?cid=123620

Indecent? No? So why would it be more indecent if it were a man wearing that PLUS a pair of pants?

Well said. I remember that time, too, when girls would wear boxers as regular shorts... especially if they're bumming around at a Target or a Wal Mart! I still see girls do it to this day, with the tops rolled down about three times to make them super short! I bet no one would say anything to her!

BTW, I would love to see the article of the woman who was booted off a SWA flight for her attire, if anyone can find it and post!

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Off topic but...
Remember this guy?

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"Spacers" wrote:

It's an airport runway, not a fashion runway. He was wearing a fashion commonly seen among gangsters and thugs and other people who often refuse to do what they are told. I think the ground crew was right to make sure that he wasn't one of them, with a simple request to pull up his pants. Gang members & hoodlums are allowed to fly -- if they can show a reasonable amount of respect for the authority of the flight crew. If someone just doesn't like the orange & purple plaid of your dress, you're right, being asked to remove it would be no good. If, however, your dress features a pattern notorious among local gang members, then a request to put on a sweater might be a reasonable request. It's a quick & easy way to distinguish a troublemaker, not by the clothing but by the response.

I associate saggy pants with hip hop and urban youth culture. Are there gangsters and thugs that wear them? Sure. But there are gangsters and thugs that wear business suits too. So what?

I believe what you are describing above is a perfect example of self fullfilling prophesy.

1. You hold a negative stereotype about someone based on appearances.
2. Therefore, you find it reasonable to request something of them that you agree would not be reasonable to request of someone else (we wouldn't ask our lady in plaid to change, after all.)
3. When the person reacts negatively to the unreasonable request (as any normal person would - I'm sure our friend in the plaid dress would ALSO balk at being asked to change) you use that as proof to confirm your negative stereotypes about the person.

And around and around we go.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I associate saggy pants with hip hop and urban youth culture. Are there gangsters and thugs that wear them? Sure. But there are gangsters and thugs that wear business suits too. So what?

I believe what you are describing above is a perfect example of self fullfilling prophesy.

1. You hold a negative stereotype about someone based on appearances.
2. Therefore, you find it reasonable to request something of them that you agree would not be reasonable to request of someone else (we wouldn't ask our lady in plaid to change, after all.)
3. When the person reacts negatively to the unreasonable request (as any normal person would - I'm sure our friend in the plaid dress would ALSO balk at being asked to change) you use that as proof to confirm your negative stereotypes about the person.

And around and around we go.

YES, YES and YES again.

I know good young kids that wear their pants like that. It annoys me, but I don't think it's indecent exposure at all. I think they wayyyyy overstepped their bounds on this one. It's one thing to listen to older people b!tch and complain about it, but an airline to actually ask a passenger to leave, stupid!

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It's not indecent exposure, but there isn't any doubt it's inappropriate. Showing off your underwear isn't acceptable. For men or women, hoodlums or preppy, teenagers or old farts. It's not OK. If he'd gotten arrested for indecent exposure, I'd feel differently. It's so freaking easy to pull your pants up, not like changing a dress at all! Why not do as they asked since inappropriate is such a broad term?

eta-from the cross-dressing article

As long as my dress is not indecent from a legal perspective, and so long as the airline does not object, I have the right to wear what I wear. And others have the right to wear what they want to wear."

and at the bottom:

the airline industry requires that passengers not be "inappropriately clothed."

The phrase is purposely vague, Anolik said, to give crew members maximum latitude in a post-9/11 world.

"The bottom line is, it's not about the dress code," Anolik said. "It's about the crew, which has omnipotent power. If a crew member says something to you, and deems your response 'unsafe' - and that it could lead to a safety concern - that's it. That's the law. You're out."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/22/BAH01K1EK2.DTL#ixzz1QM7xyZv2

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I think that the context in which they wear boxer shorts takes them out of the realm of underwear and into the realm of outerwear. I know that when I was in high school, the guys I knew that sagged their pants intentionally chose which boxers to wear with which outfit because they knew they would be visible.

Along the very same lines, I have some undershirts that I wear specifically to be seen. The style of the shirt is like an undershirt, like what men sometimes wear under their shirts (aka a wife beater) but I have them in different colors and prints and some have lace on the bottom. I wear them as undershirts, which is what they are traditionally meant to be worn as (and that would be considered underwear), but I wear them under shirts that may be too low cut or too short or too see through, and I intentionally choose the color or pattern that I think will look good with the outfit, knowing that parts of them will be seen. I think that men wear saggy pants and boxers in the EXACT same way. Am I inappropriate for letting my undershirt be seen?

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I agree with everything that Alissa has said. To a T.

And I SO wish I could travel back in time and not clink on the link that Spacers provided. Because, um, EW and I would NOT want to sit next to that man and his bulging blue balls on an airplane.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I think that the context in which they wear boxer shorts takes them out of the realm of underwear and into the realm of outerwear. I know that when I was in high school, the guys I knew that sagged their pants intentionally chose which boxers to wear with which outfit because they knew they would be visible.

Along the very same lines, I have some undershirts that I wear specifically to be seen. The style of the shirt is like an undershirt, like what men sometimes wear under their shirts (aka a wife beater) but I have them in different colors and prints and some have lace on the bottom. I wear them as undershirts, which is what they are traditionally meant to be worn as (and that would be considered underwear), but I wear them under shirts that may be too low cut or too short or too see through, and I intentionally choose the color or pattern that I think will look good with the outfit, knowing that parts of them will be seen. I think that men wear saggy pants and boxers in the EXACT same way. Am I inappropriate for letting my undershirt be seen?

Will your arse be exposed if they slip? No. Boxers can easily slide down...in fact, I've seen this "fashion" as you say it is, and seen plenty o' butt cracks and it's not cute. Airplanes have rules, if you can't follow them - however annoying one might find them - then choose a different method of traveling where you can show whatever body part you feel like. Just like girls who think it's cute to let their thong hang out the back, I don't find that to be a fashion trend either - undies are not made to be shown in public.

And I do not know one person who actually matches their boxers to what they are wearing for the day so that they can have their pants hang down to their knee's.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

To answer my own question, no I think that's very very silly. I realize that some people are really annoyed by seeing someone's underwear, but I maintain that seeing a cloth covered behind is not indecent exposure. Boxer shorts are exactly that - still shorts. I maintain that if you can't see skin, it's not indecent exposure, and that it was ridiculous for the airline to ask him to pull up his pants and/or ask him to leave over it.

I agree. Annoying and looks so uncomfortable, but still technically covered.

Some of the jeans young women wear (hopefully only young women) where they rest at or below the hip bone show way more skin.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I realize that he was actually arrested for refusing to leave the plane and resisting arrest. My question is, should they have asked him to leave the plane in the first place? Do you consider exposed boxer shorts to be "indecent exposure?"

The airline has the right to enforce their dress code. Fort Worth has recently banned them from their buses.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Bus riders in Fort Worth who wear sagging pants have the choice of pulling them up before boarding or finding another way to get around the city.

Three weeks ago, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority's added the new "no saggy pants" rule to it's already-existing dress code, allowing bus drivers to turn away passengers whose pants sag below the waist.

Joan Hunter, a spokeswoman for the system known as the T, says it's about respecting everyone who chooses to ride city buses.

"It's not like they have to go home," Hunter said. "They can just pull it up. It's to be respectful of other riders."

Posters and billboards have been placed throughout the city warning riders to "pull 'em up or find another ride."

http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/Saggy-pants-riders-banned-from-Fort-Worth-buses-122944383.html

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I don't consider boxes to be indecent at all. Silly.

Not a fashion trend that I will be adopting-- but like Alissa, I did wear boxers as shorts in high school (what an odd trend it was!)

I think it is more profiling of a stereotype that the general "you" don't like. It isn't my culture, it isn't my thing, but certainly not something to call the police about...what a waste of limited public resources IMO.