Shouting it out loud

03 Oct 2019 / 10:26 H.

SEX is still very much a taboo subject among Malaysians, with very few avenues of information for those who want to educate themselves on sex and reproductive health, or even those who are merely curious.

Even the most accessible source of information, the internet, can be fraught with inaccuracies and misconceptions.

Hoping to break the stigma surrounding this topic is sex and body positivity advocate Jasmine Rajah.

This 29-year-old has been working for the past few years to encourage open and honest conversations on sexual health, relationships and body positivity.

She spreads her views through her online platform, Ohheymissking, on both Facebook and Instagram, and has plans to establish a podcast and YouTube channel in future to reach out to more youths.

Tell us a little about yourself.

“I was born in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. My dad is a tour guide and my mother is a school administrator. I am their eldest child. I have a sister who is two years younger than me.

“I have a bachelor of arts in International Studies, [for which I also] took gender studies.

“I have worked for a year with Pacos, a community-based organisation dedicated towards supporting indigenous communities in Sabah.

“Right now I am a talent manager [of] a group of 10 women, including models and actresses.”

What motivated you to start this platform?

“When I was 16, I did not have anyone to talk to about sexual health, relationships and body positivity. Everyone who was taking about these issues on the internet was from the western world.

“I needed someone from this part of the world who understood my culture. I decided to be that someone, [whom] other youths needed.”

What are some of the topics you discuss on your platform?

“I have discussed how to identify a toxic relationship, and what you can do to end the toxic relationship. I have also discussed what are safe, unsafe and unwanted touches.

“I have talked about internet safety, [and being] careful about what kind of information you put on your social media.

“I have started a column called Myth Monday where I dispel myths. For example, some people believe eating pineapple causes miscarriage and induces labour. I do my research and provide some facts that show how this is not true.”

Tell us more your body positivity programme.

“When I was younger, I was depressed and negative. People were always talking about my size, asking me to reduce my weight.

“In time, I learned to love myself. I refuse to follow the stereotype of ‘a fat girl with low self-esteem who is always hungry for love’.

“Physically, I may not impress you, but I am done with people who judge me by how I look. I want to impress you with my actions. I want people to judge me by what I have achieved.

“I am telling youths to love who they are, and to not compare themselves to other people. Everyone has a special ability. Focus on what you have, and not what you do not have.”

Do you think there is pressure now to look beautiful and fit all the time?

“Yes. It is not only women who suffer from this. There is pressure on men to look fit, too. But at the same time, there are a lot of movements that encourage you to love who you are.

“For example, there is a movement here called True Complexion which empowers and inspires people who have skin conditions and other physical, mental or emotional characteristics that might not be considered normal or beautiful.”

Where do you see this platform, five years from now?

“I would love to work with the Ministry of Education and discuss these issues in schools.”

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