Sunday, October 12, 2003

It's about damn time someone has spoken out about this:

    On the street, on television, even in the office, women of all ages and sizes are wearing tight, low-slung, butt-hugging jeans and pants that hit at, or often far below, the hip. The trend isn't new—it began around '95 or so—but what is new are the unlovely depths to which the pants have now, as it were, sunk. The crotch-to-waist measurement, or rise, on a standard pair of jeans (the sort we haven't seen much of since the early '90s) is somewhere between 10 and 12 inches. Early low-riders had a rise of about 7 inches. Over the past couple of years, the rise has dipped as low as 3 or 4 inches. Low-rise, it seems, has become synonymous with no-rise. Gasoline, a Brazilian company, has even created Down2There jeans, which feature a bungee cord that allows the wearer to lower her pants as she sees fit, as though adjusting a set of Venetian blinds.


    In their way, low-rider jeans bear a creepy similarity to Chinese foot-binding—they constrict a woman's action, rendering her ornamental. And like foot-binding, the jeans can have deleterious medical consequences. In 2001, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a doctor's report stating that low-rise jeans can cause a condition called meralgia paresthetica, characterized by numbness or tingling in the thighs, by pinching a nerve located at the hip. Left untreated, the numbness can become permanent. Forget the question of style: This is a human rights issue.

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