Hundreds march in ‘yoga pants parade’ following critical letter

Women walk and do yoga in peaceful protest Sunday
Women walk and do yoga in peaceful protest Sunday

BARRINGTON, R.I. (WPRI) – Hundreds of men and women slipped into their spandex and hit the streets of Barrington for a so-called “yoga pants parade” Sunday afternoon.

The walk comes in response to a controversial letter to the editor published in last Wednesday’s edition of the Barrington Times. In the letter, Alan Sorrentino chastised women over 20 for sporting the workout wear, calling the yoga pants “bizarre and disturbing” when worn by “mature, adult women.” Following backlash on social media, Sorrentino insisted the letter was written in jest, describing it as “silly” and “frivolous.”

On Sunday afternoon, hundreds marched in protest of the letter, walking down Sorrentino’s street and past him home, carrying signs that read “Love yourself” and “Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.”

“It was just positive,” said Amanda Marshall, who participated in Sunday’s walk. “It made me smile. Everyone had smiles on their faces. Struck a nerve this election season, but it was a positive event and a positive day.”

Organizer Jamie Burke told Eyewitness News the march wasn’t a personal attack on Sorrentino, but was about spreading a broader message against misogyny and the policing of women’s bodies.

Speaking with a megaphone from a platform outside Hampden Meadows School at the start of the walk, Burke said the large crowd sent a clear message.

“It speaks to the need for us to stand up for our rights to wear what we want,” she said to a cheering crowd of men and women.

Reached by phone after Sunday’s march, Sorrentino again reiterated that his letter was meant as a joke. He told Eyewitness News the parade by his home was “stressful” and “intimidating.” He said it caused tension and arguments inside his home.

But those who participated in the walk didn’t see it as a threatening demonstration.

“It’s about women wearing what they choose to wear and everybody being respectful,” said Marshall. “The yoga pants are a symbol.”

Sorrentino said he was invited to join the parade, but declined when organizers encouraged him to wear yoga pants, too.