Trying to send young girls a better message

Children seem to grow up faster than ever these days and Kerri Isham wants to make sure local girls do it safely.

Kerri Isham wants girls to show more positive messages on their T-shirts.

Kerri Isham wants girls to show more positive messages on their T-shirts.

Children seem to grow up faster than ever these days and Kerri Isham wants to make sure local girls do it safely.

That’s why the Parksville resident doesn’t like it when she sees young teens and tweens wearing T-shirts promoting sexuality — consciously or otherwise.

“There are a lot of T-shirts out there that are highly sexualized for girls, particularly in the eight to 12 age range. Sometimes the girls don’t even know that the T-shirts are sexualized, but certainly adults and other teenagers would know.”

To counter this, Isham was on hand at the Craig Street Market in Parksville to offer alternative Ts promoting a healthier view of girlhood.

“I’m trying to give girls an option. I want them to be able to have tee shirts they can wear that helps them feel good about themselves instead of being objectified as a sexual object.”

Isham said she has sold about 240 of her shirts, which show off positive, affirming messages.

“This is the first of many T-shirts I plan to make,” she said. “I have a second T-shirt done and when I sell a few more of these I’ll be buying more.”

The context in  which she does this is a service she calls Power Up, where she provides sexual health workshops to local children, parents and educators. 

“I work with teachers and parents on  how to help girls navigate the media so their body image and self esteem is not impacted as heavily. It’s very troubling with the media, the videos, the T-shirts, the sexy clothes and inappropriate websites. This is my way to try to intervene and try to educate parents so girls can grow up safe.”

Isham, who served as a teacher in School District 69 (Qualicum) said she has been teaching sexual health for 11 years through her physical education classes, as well as at seminars and workshops, both in the schools and in private homes.

“I do a workshop called Navigating Girl World, a two-hour workshop for parents, teachers and community members and I sell the shirts after the workshops,” she said. “I also do a female sexual anatomy workshop and I am offering a parent workshop at the Parksville Pharmasave on Wednesday, Aug. 3, from 1 to 3 p.m. called Body Smart Right From the Start. The focus is for parents of children aged zero to Grade 4 and it’s about increasing abuse resistance.”

Isham noted she also provides customized sexual education workshops for seniors, as well as for people with disabilities. 

“A variety of different people attend my workshops,” Isham said. “For instance, there are more grandparents raising children these days and many people in their day didn’t grow up with access to healthy sexual education. It was more about the shame and embarrassment.”

She said this old style of looking at female sexuality is by no means a thing of the past however.

“That’s not all gone today,” she said, but we’re working on it.”

For more information about Power Up, call 250-248-5053 or visit wwwpowerupworkshops.ca.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erin Haluschak visits the VI Free Daily/PQB News studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Erin Haluschak talks missing persons on Vancouver Island, women in media

Podcast: Black Press reporter also talks about importance of women in the media

(File photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo to increase fees for disposal of mattresses

Current rate of $15 per unit not enough to cover recycling

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

This payphone sits just east of TD Bank in Parksville, on Harrison Avenue. (Emily Vance photo)
Last call approaches for Vancouver Island payphones?

Some payphones don’t get used for days as mobile phones diminishing need

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Most Read