Hundreds of women stage leggings protest march after letter to local newspaper sparks outrage

Participants were responding to a piece in a Rhode Island paper from a man sneering at the wearing of Lycra exercise wear outside of gyms as 'tacky' and 'ridiculous'

Monday 24 October 2016 08:38
Comments
Participants demonstrate in the so-called "yoga pants parade" in Rhode Island
Participants demonstrate in the so-called "yoga pants parade" in Rhode Island

Hundreds of women, girls and other supporters pulled on their yoga leggings and paraded around the Rhode Island neighbourhood of a man who had derided the attire as tacky and ridiculous.

Alan Sorrentino, who said his letter to The Barrington Times on Wednesday was meant to be humorous, condemned the response as “vicious” and claimed he had received death threats.

The so-called yoga pants parade was not a protest against Mr Sorrentino specifically but part of a bigger movement against misogyny and men dictating how women should dress, organisers said.

But they said even if Mr Sorrentino's letter was meant to be a joke, the message was clear.

“Women are fed up with the notion that we have to dress for people's visual pleasure,” said parade organiser Jamie Burke.

More than 300 people - many of them women and young girls - came out for the social media-driven event in the affluent, coastal town of Barrington, wearing yoga leggings of different styles and colours.

Some held up signs that said “Peaceful Pants Party” and “I've Got Passion For My Pants”.

Participants also collected personal hygiene items for the Sojourner House, a local domestic violence organisation, and marchers ended with a group yoga session.

In his letter Mr Sorrentino described yoga leggings as the worst thing in women's fashion since the mini-skirt. He said they belonged in the yoga studio and that women over 20 should not wear them in public.

One parade walker, clad in bright red leggings, held a sign that read “I'm 53”.

Mr Sorrentino told WPRO-AM the letter was meant to be a humorous break from the current US political campaign rhetoric, adding he did not really have an issue with yoga leggings - and even owned a pair.

He likened the death threats and expletive-laden voicemails he said he had received to what he had experienced for years as an openly gay man.

“It's vicious and intimidating,” he said. “The fact that this is seen as an appropriate reaction to something I wrote in the paper is really disgusting.”

On Sunday, police were posted in front of his home, which had a hand-written banner saying “Free Speech” hanging over it.

Ms Burke said she advised participants to respect a quiet zone by his home.

AP

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in