Peaceful yoga pants protest parades past letter writer's house

Men, women and children walk in response to Alan Sorrentino's words

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Hundreds of people — old and young, male and female, and most wearing yoga pants — paraded down Robbins Drive and Knapton Street on Sunday afternoon.

The march served as a peaceful response to a letter that Knapton Street resident Alan Sorrentino wrote recently. In his letter, titled "Please, women, put away those yoga pants," Mr. Sorrentino wrote that yoga pants "do nothing to compliment a women over 20 years old. In fact, the look is bad." He later suggests women instead wear "a nice pair of tailored slacks, jeans, or anything else..."

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Read Mr. Sorrentino's letter.

Women worldwide quickly criticized Mr. Sorrentino's remarks, and eventually a yoga pants parade was planned. Approximately 400 people attended the parade, which started at Hampden Meadows School and followed Robbins and Knapton before ending back at the school.

"Freedom of speech is real and I support it," said Barrington resident Maria Wah Fitta, who brought her sons to the event. "But you need to have civility."

Some of the people at the event toted poster board signs, sharing their anger toward Mr. Sorrentino's words. Marchers said the local man had no right to tell them what to wear or how to dress.

Massachusetts resident Robyn Coutureier attended the event after hearing about it in the news. She said she was very happy to see so many women gather together to show their distaste for Mr. Sorrentino's words. 

"Everyone has a right to their opinion, our country is based on free speech. We don't want to censor people," she said. "But there are many other ways he could have said it… he was very, very offensive, and that's why we're all upset."

Jamie Patrice helped organize the parade. She said people from far and wide — including her sister who lives in Brooklyn, NY — made the trip to Barrington to participate in the parade. She said she called Mr. Sorrentino to invite him to march, but he offered some rude comments instead.

"We're not trying to intimidate him," she said, prior to the start of the parade. Ms. Patrice also emphasized her efforts to keep the parade as a peaceful event.

"I have tuned out the negativity," she said. 

Much of the parade was void of confrontation and negativity. As marchers walked past Mr. Sorrentino's home, they remained quiet, although a group of young boys was heard chanting "Yoga pants are cool." 

Two uniformed Barrington police officers were stationed near Mr. Sorrentino's home, upon which was tacked a banner reading "Free Speech." Mr. Sorrentino was not seen outside his home, and it was not clear whether he even was home at the time of the parade.

The event did feature at least one minor confrontation — an older man was spotted asking a marcher why she believed to have the right to bully and harass Mr. Sorrentino. The woman dismissed the man's comments and continued her walk.

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