Chief Pleasure Seeker
Hi, I am Jannette. I founded Sonder and Beam because I believe that everyone around the world deserves to be educated about their body and given the free choice to do what they please with it.
I love what the Sex Positive movement has achieved for women in the western world over the past few decades. Since ‘Me Too’, the conversation around female sex and sexuality has blown up and I am all for that. But there is so much more to do.
In 2015 I co-founded Scarlet Ladies, London’s leading community of sex positive women. Through our work and campaigns we helped hundreds of women to find their voices, grow in confidence, find friendships, and empower themselves to become their true, sexual selves. I saw plenty of women come through Scarlet Ladies’ doors looking for acceptance, understanding and support, and walking out feeling stronger, more confident, and more complete. Above all else, I saw that the women who made the most change were the women who helped and supported other women. Supporting other women is the strongest way to empower ourselves, and that is the ‘why’ behind Sonder & Beam: the new name for Scarlet Ladies. I wanted to create an even stronger, fully inclusive community of women standing together to support and empower each other everywhere: regardless of race, sexuality, ethnicity, orientation or origins.
I am a dual national of the UK and Sierra Leone, where I was born. Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest countries, and one of the few places in the world where FGM is still practiced routinely without punishment. Up to 90% of young girls and women who grow up there will undergo it. The more that I saw the power of the sex positive movement gaining hold and making changes in the UK, the more I saw the vast difference between the lives of sex positive women in London, and the lives of women in developing countries like Sierra Leone. In the western world, we recognise that freedom is a human right – but for the majority of women in the world this is not the case. One key characteristic of all developing countries is the normalisation of violence against women, such as rape, forced marriage and FGM. I founded Sonder & Beam because I want to use my voice to change things: not just for women in London, the UK and the western world, but for women everywhere.
As women of the western world, I believe that we can use the gift of our voices to support other women, everywhere, and to make a better world for all of us. We cannot progress in a world where the majority of us are being held down. That is just a fact. We need to stop thinking about ‘us’, the privileged, and ‘them’, the others: it needs to be ‘we’.
I grew up in a very traditional African Christian background where discussing sex had so much shame and stigma. I lost my virginity at a pretty young age but I had no idea about sex. My first job was in a popular sex shop and my eyes were opened: I met women who embraced their sexuality, women who were curious, women who were ashamed to be there, basically all walks of life. In that job, I learned that sex and sexuality is a part of of us: we all pretty much have a sex life, regardless of how little or much you we getting it. And I learned that understanding and accepting who we are, sexually, is a really important part of learning to be ourselves and living lives that fulfil and satisfy us.
My mission in life is to create a space where females can speak freely, learn to understand themselves and others, and make their own free choices when it comes to how they live, how they identify, and what they choose to do with their bodies: without fear of violence, stigma or shame. I have seen that the women who make the most change in this world are those who support other women: even simply by listening and being present for one another. I founded Sonder & Beam to give women a way to do exactly that. Together we can change the conversation. Together, we can make a better world for every woman, everywhere.