Monday, April 14, 2014

The Ideal Citizen

Sagged pants are a trend that I personally have never understood. Having one’s underwear hanging out beneath pants seems to be counterproductive to wearing pants in the first place, but that’s merely my practicality speaking. Although it is a fashion statement I do not particularly enjoy, it is not something that would ever occur to me to ban, other than in a school setting where such clothing would arguably be distracting to fellow students. Otherwise, as Madeline L’Engle said of A Wrinkle in Time being banned, “You have got to be very careful of banning. What you ban is not going to hurt anybody, usually. But the act of banning is.” Seeing someone’s underwear or, less fortunately, bare bottom is unpleasant by the standards of many people, but there is more danger in making certain fashion choices illegal and punishable by law than it is for underwear to show every now and then.

            The desire for uniformity in appearance, education, and language is shown in an extremist way in A Wrinkle in Time, but such tendencies are apparent in the banning of saggy pants, tattoos, and cursing in our own society. In conformity, many find comfort, but the desire for conformity, beginning with the banning of books, as L’Engle points out, is the way that Hitler’s genocide of millions of people happened. Although some people may find cursing or saggy pants to be offensive or disrespectful, attempting to control people and mold them into an “ideal citizen” has frightening implications. To me, however, the banning of saggy pants in a private establishment, such as the restaurant in New Jersey, is far less concerning. In a private place, the owners are attempting to create a certain environment and may ask people to dress a certain way to maintain that standard. People who like saggy pants are perfectly free to not attend such an establishment. Once these bans go public though, the message is that the people governing that society are attempting to mold it’s citizens and not just a restaurant.

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