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 in the childs early years.
In the world of girls and boys swimwear, boys often wear rash vest and boys swim shorts; girls wear bikini's, or a high cut one piece (girls swimsuit), sometimes a tankini.
Things are changing, but the divide promoting gender difference, is still part of our culture, many of these differences are so ingrained in our society we just don't see them. For example the gender pay gap is constantly measured by the office of national statistics here in the UK and this stands today at 15% for full time employees. In other words a woman will be paid 15% less than a man for doing the same job, same hours, same quality of work.
My daughter plays football, but at her school the girls play hockey and the boys play football in games lessons, so she is unable to play the sport she loves at school. 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. Should it be equality for all no matter what sex? And if yes, then how can we gently usher the winds of change?
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, as he looked like a girl.
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 particularly with girls 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, and this only reconfirms these negative perceptions through more than one channel of connection. You cannot stop children seeing these images
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 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 swimwear, and for boys swimwear, swim shorts and a rash vest.
I wanted my kids to be able to wear similar clothes at the beach and swimming in the sea, to when they are just playing at the park. To blur the transition between what a child should wear at the beach versus what they can wear in the beach cafe or on the swings, hence why this swimwear is essentially a top and shorts rather than a swimming costume.
They all love to run around in the sand and play in the sea, and I wanted them to feel confident and at ease 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 kids swimsuit 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 we parents prefer to shop by gender. Its good to be aware and push the boundaries a little, which is why you see my son and my daughter in this image both wearing the same range of swimwear.👍🏼