BY ALEXIA JAMES
“To all yoga pant wearers,” wrote Alan Sorrentino, of Rhode Island, in a letter to the editor of the Barrington Times, “I struggle with my own physicality as I age. I don’t want to struggle with yours.”
Sorrentino, 63, boldly declared yoga pants the “absolute worst thing” to happen to women’s fashion since the mini skirt. He said that, like the mini skirt, yoga pants are “adorable” on children and fit young women, but that the exercise ensemble is both “disturbing” and “bizarre” when stretched over the thighs of “mature, adult” ladies.
He insisted that a woman flaunting yoga pants in public is no better than a man wearing a pair of Speedos to the supermarket. He suggested more sensible alternatives, like blue jeans or “a nice pair of tailored slacks.”
He told these women to do themselves a favour. “Grow up, and stop wearing them in public,” he wrote.
The Internet seized upon Sorrentino’s words with such ferocity that – amidst death threats – he felt he had to clear his name on radio. In the face of widespread denunciation, Sorrentino told radio station WPRO days later that his letter was intended as a piece of satire, as a comical respite from the hateful political climate.
Then, last Sunday, nearly 300 women squeezed into their own pairs of yoga pants — tight and multi-coloured — and marched through Sorrentino’s Barrington neighbourhood. They came at the call of a Facebook event, “Peaceful Yoga Pants Parade,” which by the weekend had drawn thousands of supporters.
The protestors carried bright pink signs: “PEACEFUL PANTS PARTY!” “WE WEAR WHAT WE WANT.” “LOVE YOURSELF.” They eventually passed by Sorrentino’s home on Sunday afternoon where taped to the side of his house was a sign that said: “FREE SPEECH.”
Those who marched said it didn’t matter what Sorrentino’s intentions were, and that ultimately the pants protest wasn’t even about his specific words — it was about taking a stand against a culture and climate that allows for the restriction of a woman’s free will.
I was sitting in the park earlier and women of all sizes were walking, cycling and jogging past me wearing all kinds of Yoga pants. Some yoga pants were more invisible than others.
I had a good think about Sorrentino and his letter to the Barrington Times.
Sorrentino happens to be a gay man who has received loads of abuse over the years for being homosexual.
I began to think of gay pride. How one day I was with an old friend and my five-year-old son. We were walking in the direction of Regent Street in Central London when a bunch of men in budgie crunchers and pink wigs walked by.
At the time, I laughed.
But my old friend, who is in her mid-seventies, immediately covered my boy’s eyes and turned away in disgust.
What’s the difference?
I see overweight women walking around in Yoga pants and I have no problem with them wearing something that is showing they are genuinely happy being overweight.
If I was overweight I would not be seen dead in them.
I see beautiful women strolling from the gym in yoga pants or picking their kids up from nursery wearing them and I think wow. You’ve still got it, honey. Show it off.
Then I see the puke-inducing frontal views of women who’ve clearly never heard of camel toe (or perhaps want to show theirs off). Do they not realise that Yoga pants get sucked up there and that the world gets rather too much of an eyeful?
So, where do I stand? With Sorrentino or with the protestors?
In all honesty, I am more with Sorrentino.
Just as the gay pride wig-wearers publicly revealed more of their anatomy than my five-year-old should ever have to see in all his innocence or my female friend in her mid-seventies should be forced to gape at, so women should understand that vagina flashing through lycra is just not cool. Nudity laws should be respected.
If I get death threats for taking this point of view, so be it. But personally, I think it’s for professional lip readers and deaf people to read lips. Don’t you?