‘While yoga pants seem to be a silly thing to fight for, they are representative of something much bigger — misogyny and the history of men policing women’s bodies.’
Men of the world take note: This is what happens when you tell women they can’t wear yoga pants.
That’s right, it’s a giant yoga pants party — and double yep, it’s happening in front of your house.
Last week, a strongly-worded letter by Alan Sorrentino, a local Rhode Islander, appeared in Barrington Times. In it, he denounced women who wear yoga pants because he thinks “there is something bizarre and disturbing about the appearance they make in public.”
“Maybe it’s the unforgiving perspective they provide, inappropriate for general consumption, TMI, or the spector [sic] of someone coping poorly with their weight or advancing age that makes yoga pants so weird in public,” he hypothesized in the editorial.
The rest of the letter is a not-so-polite suggestion for women to choose another method of covering their lower half since yoga pants, he says, “do nothing to compliment a women over 20 years old.”
That rumbling noise you’re hearing? That’s the hundreds of angry women who came to Sorrentino’s house on Sunday, Oct. 23, to make something abundantly clear: He doesn’t get to decide what women can and can’t wear.
A group of 200 or so peaceful, yoga-pants-wearing protestors gathered outside Sorrentino’s home (which, ironically, sported a “free speech” sign) to stand up for their right to wear whatever the heck they want. In this case, yoga pants.
As the event page on Facebook for the yoga pants parade succinctly put it: “While yoga pants seem to be a silly thing to fight for, they are representative of something much bigger — misogyny and the history of men policing women’s bodies.”
A woman named Danielle joined the protest with her family, wanting to set an example for her young daughter.
“It was really fun, uplifting and empowering,” she explained over direct message on Twitter. “I went with my family because I don’t want my 3-year-old to be told by anyone that she should be held to any kind fashion/beauty standards other than her own.”
Jennifer Costanza wrote on Instagram that she took a break from cooking to stand in yoga-pants-wearing solidarity with her friends.
One supporter even made yoga pants cupcakes.
Once assembled, the protesters did exactly what you expect of someone wearing yoga pants. They got down with a group yoga flow.
Jamie Burke, the event’s organizer, said she had no idea the kind of response it would get.
She decided to host the parade as a response to this “casual sexism” because, she said, it spoke to her New Orleans roots.
“There were so many strong women and girls who came, and amazing men and sons standing with them in support,” Burke wrote in an email. “But what touched me the most were the notes from people around the country telling me why this was so important to them, sharing their very personal stories and gratitude for this action.”
This is not just about yoga pants, and it’s not a vendetta against Sorrentino. It’s about standing up to people who feel they have the right to police women’s bodies and choices.
This is far from an isolated incident. Lately men and women have been declaring yoga pants taboo fashion left and right.
A panel of men (yes all men) on Fox News had the audacity to debate whether or not women should wear leggings by scrutinizing models parading in front of them. One Montana lawmaker actually tried to outlaw them, saying they qualified as “indecent exposure.” Some Christian groups have even declared them “sinful.”
This is a dangerous line of thinking, especially in a political climate when so much of what a woman can and cannot do with her body is being decided for her by male politicians.
As such, it’s reassuring to see women refusing to take this lying down. They’re out walking the streets making their voices heard in the comfiest pants ever created because it’s their human right to do just that.
Sorrentino claims his letter was a “satire,” but the fact that he thought it was important enough to be published in the paper — and the fact that the paper deemed it an opinion worth publishing — means he wanted someone to take it seriously. Thankfully, women everywhere did, and now the world will be reminded, once again, to leave women’s choices to women.
Clarification 10/26/2016: This post was updated to more accurately reflect the location of the parade.