Alum fights for women’s rights
At a time when gender issues are brought up at the dinner table with increasing frequency, one phrase sets the tone for filmmaker Jason Stefaniak’s response: “This is my body—not yours.”
The Towson alumnus and former URG president created the short film titled “This Is My Body” with friend and fellow alum, Siobhan O’Loughlin.
The women in the video speak of their right to have control of their own body and be who they are without fear of discrimination and judgment.
They address issues of fair pay, abortion, medical care and sexual health.
“I am male, yes, but these issues are very important to me,” Stefaniak said. “I was raised primarily by women… and I want to live in a world that treats them all fairly, with respect, and allows them to make their own decisions regarding their bodies.”
Stefaniak and his collaborators’ message has received wide-spread attention.
Just a month after its release, the video has already accrued thousands of hits on YouTube, and has been supported by women’s rights groups, including Planned Parenthood.
Women around the world have posted replies of their own recitals of the monologue, and one has started to fund an American Sign Language version of the video for the deaf community.
“This Is My Body” has struck a chord with many varying cultures and demographics, with the video being viewed actively in over 130 countries.
Stefaniak said by tackling such a sensitive issue, he and his team have set the bar for what is expected of filmmakers today—to challenge society, to raise questions and conjure answers to the burning questions, and to tackle the issues that really matter.
“A lot of Towson students, alumni, staff and administration have donated to or are supporting the project. It is very much a project of Towson,” he said.