This Is My Body - short film in response to Republican attacks on women's health and reproductive rights

This Is My Body from Jason Stefaniak on Vimeo.

Kelsey Rowland says:

This Is My Body is a short film project that is a passionate, full-throated expression of the fundamental, inalienable, universal rights of women. The project is a response to the attacks on women's health and reproductive rights, and general bodily autonomy, that have occurred throughout this year.

What I think gives the film its added touch behind the powerful message is that the director, surprisingly enough, is a male. His name is Jason Stefaniak and is a thesis student in the NYU Grad Film program. His impetus for the project was the desire to see a country and world that respects and empowers women, such as his mother, grandmother, aunts, girlfriend, and sister.

The video was shot in one day in a studio in New York with about 5 crew members and borrowed equipment and was funded through a Facebook fundraising campaign. We've spent no real money on advertising and the entire distribution plan was created and executed by Jason, as well as a few volunteers.


  1. “If I’m not…stopping you from your inherent right to happiness, it’s none of your business.”

    The problem with this being that it seems like a significant portion of the population isn’t happy if you’re happy, unless you’re happy for reasons that they approve of. And unfortunately, some of these people have a political following.

    1.  yeah changing it to something about “I am not stopping you from nor am I responsible for your happiness.” would be good.

        1. I like the way you put that, because I thought the original intent behind the “If I’m not…stopping you from your inherent right to happiness” was about, maybe, with a stretch, the partner who gave away a piece of his body that created a conception, and his right to speak to how that is for him. Kind of like, “its not that I’m trying to make a reversal of power and control roles,  I respect your right to be considered, but in the end, I’m the one that decides what my body does.” But you are saying it very much better this way.

  2. Remember, it’s “My Body, My Choice.” Well, except for NYC’s proposed rules making it difficult for new mothers to choose not to breastfeed. Or if you’re a young teenager who wants Plan B, a drug that the FDA said was perfectly safe for you and your peer group. Or if you’re a working-class student in DC who had previously benefited from their school choice program. Or if you want to choose a large soda. Or if you choose to use a little salt.  Or if you choose to travel and not go through the X-Ray devices. But hey! as long as you’re choosing the way that the people currently in charge want you to choose, you can choose whatever you want. In other words… we still have a lot of work to do.

    1.  Mr Casey, does that “lot of work we have to do” include protecting womens’ right to an abortion on demand? 

      And do you really equate limits on restaurant salt with bans on women’s right to make their own choices?

      If you support unequivocally a woman’s right to an abortion, I’ll definitely support your right to eat all the salt you want.


      1. Actually, I’m personally more in favour of adoption over abortion on demand, but I am completely pro-choice, do NOT want to see it become illegal, and have put my actions where my mouth is. And while withholding table salt or large sodas or trans-fat or sugary snacks is not the same as withholding birth control, it seems to be indicative of a trend in politics, one that says ‘People have the right to choose what we would ourselves choose.’ (Hell, I rarely put salt on my food… garlic salt on popcorn is a yummy exception… but I’ve never been offended to see someone salting their food in public.) The Plan B kerfluffle actually did upset me, especially as it was going on around the same time that opponents of the administration were being labeled as anti-birth control. The FDA and HHS both are on record as saying that there was no reason a teenage girl could not use Plan B, yet the President essentially said that since he wouldn’t want HIS daughters using it, no one else’s daughters could make that choice. Breast feeding? who does Mayor Bloomberg think he is to say that hospitals should hide formula? That is entirely the choice of the parent or parents and the baby. (Some don’t do well with breast milk; I didn’t.)  I also choose not to smoke, but have been passionately against smoking bans since I myself quit; now some cities have passed laws forbidding renters to smoke in their property, regardless of what the landlord agrees to.

        Bottom line:  to me, pro-choice means letting everyone choose what he or she wishes to do to him or herself.


  3. THIS…
    that is all.
    why is it so complicated? equality NOW! end the ‘merican taliban jihad against women already FFS!
    EDIT: to say end the war against ALL women around the world RIGHT FUCKING NOW! What more can I say? This is so stupid! I… I can’t even… I don’t even… I…

  4. This makes no argument that the people addressed will care about. Those people think abortion is murder. Telling them that “abortion is my right” is going to be as effective as saying “murder is my right”. These people think the following two statements are equivalent: “I have the right to an abortion” and “I have the right to murder my children.” It does not matter how heartfelt it seems when you say those things, as the audience is not going to be swayed by your conviction.

    1. Correct, but its more of an artistic performance piece, rather than a clear argument in response to “republicans” for the reasons you state. Its directed at those who support politics that oppress women, but the intended audience is for those that need a voice. Often the largest block in removing oppression is the systematic denial of the oppressed populations ability to name it. Give people a way to specifically articulate what is happening to them, as in this example, “This is not your body,” in an artistic way, those in the audience can label it every time it happens to them in their life. If you label it, there are witnesses. Which is why usually artists are the first to go when a regime wants mind control.

  5. @dieseldriver

    You speak as if those penises aren’t attached to bodies with presumably functioning minds in them. 

    It makes me sick to think that anyone, anywhere considers it okay that men having  sex with multiple partners is seen as normal and desirable but that women doing the same is considered shamefully and licentious.  It makes me sick to think that anyone would think it’s good for insurance plans to cover Viagra so men can get it up to have sex, while excluding birth control so that women can keep from getting pregnant.

    I’m quite fine with you being disgusted and suggest that you try and determine who really is the ignorant party.

  6. wait a minute… did you watch the vid and did you miss one of the most powerful statements? * it is never my fault if you rape me* and that having to undergo another penetrative ATTACK (transvaginal ultrasound is suggested, as this is one of the many state laws recently debated intended to delay and hinder the abortion right) in order to  acquire an abortion in the case of RAPE or FUCKING INCEST is some sort of lifestyle choice?! That does not constitute a  choice of what goes into (her) vagina – it is legislative oversight in the name of some Xtian BULLSHIT that has no place in our constitutionally protected rights as citizens of the United States of America. It doesn’t matter what *your* religious book says, MY constitution says we have this right and the Constitutionally supported Supreme Court of the United States has upheld the laws of the United States to allow women this basic freedom of choice.

    The video points out how lopsided legislation has become when it comes to WOMEN’S reproductive rights has become. WHEN, when did it come to MEN deciding women’s rights? Oh, yeah, we’ve always tried to do that… Misogyny has always been the deciding norm.

    what the fuck are you little boys afraid of? I don’t really think it is GAWD. Maybe you’re still afraid of mommy?

    How ignorant of the law are you?

  7. “…the director, surprisingly enough, is a male.”  I’m sorry, but why is this surprising? Not all of us are micro-penised women-haters with an unnatural desire for control. These pathetic little excuses for humanity give the rest of us a bad name and this REALLY ticks me off! So… again…. on behalf of the real men out there: Ladies, I’m sorry for the actions of these brainless, spineless, dickless male placebos whose only hope of ever entering a woman’s vagina is via legislation! 

    1. On the other hand, it isn’t like those opposing women’s rights are all men, either (although they clearly make up the lion’s share of politicians who oppose them).

  8. Abortion is the 1%’s dream wedge issue.  They could really care less about the issue, but know that ginned up bible thumpers will overlook how badly they are getting screwed by the system as long as they can jump on this righteous bandwagon and attack a mostly defenseless group, young single mostly poor women. 

    Now that individuals can be cloned from just a few cells, it would seem that disposing of your excess cells (nail clippings, tonsils, etc.) is also murder if you follow the wing-nut argument.

  9. Two issues to address:

    The title for this post, while well intentioned, simplifies the complexity of the problem. Yes, a very large portion of Republicans have taken stances that are very heavily against this view, but many Democrats have failed to fully support it as well. Don’t iron down a human issue into a simple political one. It cheapens it.

    Secondly, the video is, in one very specific case, biasing women against their own health; the transvaginal ultrasound, while poorly implemented by these state legislatures, is not what everyone makes it out to be. No, the state should not have stepped in to try and force this on people and especially not for their crooked reasons. However, a transvaginal ultrasound is a sound medical procedure to undergo before an abortion. Many other conditions can mimic pregnancy and may become more dangerous if treated as a pregnancy. Abdominal ultrasounds do not possess the resolution necessary to confirm pregnancy in the early stages. This demonization of the transvaginal ultrasound is going to cause women who, fearing the scare tactics used over the methods, will exercise their right to choice of treatment without really understanding what risk they’re exposing themselves to.

    To clarify, it is, in my mind, as if pap smears were mandated by the state. They shouldn’t do such a thing, but you should still get a pap smear. They’re uncomfortable, invasive, and beneficial for your own information.

    1. “biasing women against their own health” Wow. There goes the point of the video, waaaaaaaaay over your head. I’m a woman! Guess what? This video I saw on the internet didn’t bias me against my own health or any procedure I would undergo based on real medical advice from a doctor. It just furthered expressed what I and all the women I talk to feel about the misogynistic, centuries old political hijacking of women’s rights. Shocking!

      “However, a transvaginal ultrasound is a sound medical procedure to undergo before an abortion.”

      Please give medical reasons why trans-vaginal ultrasounds are necessary for ALL abortions. It’s NOTHING like a pap-smear (not even going to mention the huge pain/duration differences in detail). I’m sorry if that’s what’s in “your mind”. I suggest doing a simple Google search to open that thought process. They aren’t necessary for normal abortions. I can’t emphasize this enough because it’s a simple piece of medical knowledge.

      Also this medical procedure is mostly used when women have pelvic pain associated with fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, pelvic infections, and a myriad of other reasons. But it is also a tool to detect early pregnancy. Or as the pro-lifers see it: LOOK AT THAT SACK OF CELLS, DON’T YOU SEE A SOUL?! THAT is why right-wing anti-abortion legislators wanted to use it (not to mention sinister, sick, bonus slut-shaming that comes with the physical nature of a mandated procedure).

      I’m guessing you’re for mandatory DRE screening for males, correct? After all, it’s uncomfortable, invasive, but beneficial for your own information!

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