Saggy Pants and Exposed Underwear: The Politics of Fashion, Identity Transactions and the Navigation of Homophobia

30 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2013 Last revised: 24 May 2014

Date Written: December 26, 2013

Abstract

Twenty young males who exposed their underwear by wearing saggy pants were interviewed. The study sought to understand some of the reasons for the practice, how the participants transacted their identity with people who complimented and insulted them, and how they navigated homophobia in Jamaica. Participants’ responses were content analyzed. The participants viewed saggy pants as the preferred and comfortable fashion norm because they grew up seeing it, and watching it on music videos so it was alright to publicly display the creative underwear designs. These participants had the power to determine fashion choices and outcomes in there generation. They bonded with others in good situations by smiling and behaving nicely but some buffered in these situations by being indifferent or sarcastic because they felt that the compliments were inauthentic. They buffered in bad situations by walking away, acting rudely and aggressively and others code switched by adjusting their pants. The code switchers relinquished power and control over fashion outcomes unlike those who buffered. The participants navigated homophobia by asserting the powerful hetero-normative bias which framed homosexuals as the abnormal other that behaved and dressed differently from heterosexuals including those who wore saggy pants.

Keywords: saggy pants, exposed underwear, fashion, identity transactions, power

Suggested Citation

Charles, Christopher, Saggy Pants and Exposed Underwear: The Politics of Fashion, Identity Transactions and the Navigation of Homophobia (December 26, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2372208 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2372208

Christopher Charles (Contact Author)

University of the West Indies ( email )

Kingston
Kingston 7
Mona, Mona Kingston 7
Jamaica

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