Every summer without fail, the issue of body confidence creeps up again and again. ‘Are you bikini ready?’ and what does this even mean?
I believe that being ‘bikini ready’ and body confidence is difficult to determine and changes day to day depending on many things and how we feel. It’s a variable spectrum.
However, in today’s crazy world of social media, it seems that ‘body confidence’ can be achieved and expressed simply by posting a self-taken picture of yourself (The selfie) whilst wearing very little. In fact, by today’s standards the less you wear the more body confident you are! Take Kim Kardashian’s infamous selfie for example (yes it was widely criticized) but it was also widely praised and supported by thousands of women and is used as an example of a woman celebrating her body. It even stated an online campaign for women to post naked selfie’s as an expression of body confidence.
So in today’s society, naked – or virtually naked equals body confidence and covering up means low self-esteem and a poor body image.
As a society are we judging women who want a little more modesty? Now please know, I am not stating this as fact by any stretch of the imagination but I do have some first-hand experience with this exact subject.
My name is Sarah Bohn and I am founder of a swimwear brand called Bohn Swimwear. I love to swim and I love swimming with my daughter, teaching her swim confidence has always been important to me and some of our best times over the years have been in the pool, going down water slides and having fun together.
I created Bohn swimwear for women who wanted an alternative choice to the traditional swimwear shape you find on the high street. A choice to cover any areas you’d rather not expose to the world.
Why? There is no other activity that requires women to expose their bust, bikini line, bottom and thighs all at the same time simply to engage in the activity. The lack of diversity in the swimwear industry is causing thousands of women to stop swimming altogether. A survey by Sport England suggested that there was over a million women in the UK who enjoyed swimming but stopped because of skimpy swimwear.
Bohn swimwear offers choice for women who want it – and yet Bohn swimwear has been criticised by some members of the public as they believe any form of ‘cover up’ swimwear is promoting a low body image. Apparently I am trying to take swimwear back to the ‘Victorian era…’
But what if women want a little more coverage? Does this mean they lack body confidence? It seems we have gone so far forward with the idea that all shapes and sizes should feel beautiful in skimpy swimwear (And I am total for this) that we are now judging anyone who would prefer a little more modesty.
Does wearing a pair of swim jammers mean someone has a low body images? Absolutely not and we shouldn’t judge them for wanting a little coverage, just as we shouldn’t judge those who want to show their body off.
Now, to come clean, I wouldn’t say I am the most body confident women in the world, but I can certainly pop on a dress and know I look nice, and feel confident that it is flattering all my curves in all the right places. Yet, the idea of putting on a bikini makes me turn a bit cold. I don’t hate my body, far from it, my body gave me my beautiful daughter and my body is healthy, I am proud of and grateful for my body, but bikini’s and skimpy swimsuits are just not for me. Being that naked in public regardless of my shape of size just makes me feel vulnerable.
When I had my daughter, many of the women in my new mum network refused to take their new baby swimming as they just couldn’t face the idea of a swimsuit. Taking my new baby swimming was one of my favourite activities and so many women missed out of this because there was no alternative choice in swimwear shape. This was the real catalyst to start my business.
I want to give women swimwear that allows them to have the same confidence in the pool as they have when going to work or going to shops. My swimwear is about choice, and allowing women to choose the level of coverage that feels right for them. It is not about covering up or going back to Victorian times and I certainly don’t want all women to be covered from head to toe! Some of the comments I have received about my brand seem ridiculous to me and I feel people have really missed the point.
I want all women of all ages to feel great in swimwear and have a choice, no matter what their size of shape and I want to get women swimming again.
Here is to the swimwear revolution – Let’s make a splash together!
View my full range of UV protection modest swimwear at www.bohn.uk.com