Gender Equity, Body Positivity and kids swimwear.
Gender equity, body positivity and kids
Even in modern times, we label boys and girls through gender from an extremely early age, we may even determine how a baby rests inside the uterus as a sign of the childs sex! Many parents still conform to the premise of boys wear blue and girls wear pink.
We also influence how girls and boys behaviours are different girls are told to be quiet, demure and look pretty, while boys are expected to be boisterous and loud.
Boys toys tend to be action orientated often weaponry and traditional masculine influence. While girls tend to have more creative toys, often pretty in pink. Boys wear rash vest and shorts and girls wear bikini's.
Things are changing, but the divide promoting gender difference and not as equals, is still there. And these traditional gender roles we give to children can follow through to their adult lives, without stopping to consider what this means for gender equity in adult society, equality for all no matter what sex.
According to a survey by the Children’s Society, 44% of girls think that being good-looking is the most important attribute they can have.
I recently read an article about a celebrity singer who pushed back at people who said her young son couldn’t wear a pink crop top.
“He can wear pink crop tops if it makes him happy” was her response.
Quite true, but why did it make the news anyway?
Rather than accepting stereotypical expectations and labelling boys and girls from an early age, we may want to consider a different approach and begin to soften the lines between gender identity. Clothing and what children wear is perhaps one way in which we can exercise this idea.
Body positivity and wellbeing
Like gender roles, a negative perception of body image can follow children through to adulthood. Our own personal views on how we see our bodies can easily pass through to our little ones.
Not only this, but the heavily photoshopped images we see on television and social media can have a significant impact too.
Children can have body positivity issues as early as three years old, according to Familydoctor.org . Developing a positive body image and self esteem is important for young children and parents can play a critical role supporting this development.
My experience with gender equity
As a mum of two girls and a boy, I’ve always treated them the same. This includes them wearing the same type of clothes. My youngest son wears jeans and jumpers that my two eldest girls have grown out of.
One of the reasons I founded Jody and Lara was the lack of diversity when it comes to clothing, especially swimwear, which can be worn by both girls and boys.
Typically, when you go to a store, the swimwear available to buy is very gender specific. You generally get a choice of bikinis, tankini’s and high cut one-pieces for girls, and for boys, swim shorts and a rash vest if you are lucky.
I wanted my kids to be able to wear the similar clothes at the beach. They all love to run around in the sand and play in the sea, and I wanted them to feel confident to do just that.
Our stance at Jody and Lara
At Jody and Lara, we are strong advocates of gender equity and body positivity.
Both girls and boys can wear our range of modest and eco-friendly swimwear. It’s designed to be mixed and matched so your child can pick the perfect swimwear that they feel comfortable in.
However I have still classed areas in the shop for boys and girls - Why is that? Well, I may have designed the ranges to be worn by both girls and boys, but parents prefer to shop by gender. So I too must bow down to societal pressures, and have both options. However its good to be aware and push the boundaries, which is why you see my son and my daughter in this image both wearing the same range of swimwear.👍🏼