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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February 2005, 12:53 GMT
Fines for 'droopy drawers' backed
Rapper The Game exposing his underwear
Rapper The Game - a dedicated follower of the fashion
US politicians fed up with catching an eyeful of underwear want to fine those who won't hitch up their trousers.

The Virginia state house has voted to outlaw the trend of wearing trousers so low that underwear hangs over the top.

Delegates said the habit, popular across the US and in other Western countries, was "coarsening" society.

But others hit back, urging legislators to remember their own "fashion follies" and saying the law would be used mostly against black people.

The house adopted the "droopy drawers" bill by a margin of 60-34.

Underwear is called underwear for a reason
Virginia Delegate John Reid

If the state senate also approves, youngsters in Virginia showing too much of their boxer shorts or G-strings could be fined $50 (26).

The habit, apparently picked up from rap and skateboarding culture, has become popular among boys and girls of all races, but particularly black youngsters.

Democrat Delegate Algie T Howell proposed the bill.

"It's not an attack on baggy pants. It's not about Janet Jackson. It's not about Randy Moss," he said, referring to the American footballer recently fined for pretending to "moon" opposing fans.

"To vote for this bill would be a vote for character, to uplift your community and to do something good not only for the state of Virginia, but for this entire country," he added.

Faux pas

Others were similarly offended by the current trend.

"Most of us would identify this as the coarsening of society," said Delegate John Reid, a Republican.

"Underwear is called underwear for a reason."

But Delegate Lionell Spruill, a Democrat, objected, calling it "a foolish bill".

He asked fellow politicians to remember their own former fashion faux pas, including Afro haircuts, platform shoes and shiny polyester "shell suits".

"Please, let these kids express themselves," he urged, before warning there could be a sinister side to the bill.

"This is going to be a bill that targets blacks. You know who they are going to stop," he said.

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