“My body is my own when I’m moving. When I am existing in the world,” one woman proudly states. “My body is my own when I feel possible creatively, like I can do anything I want” another adds, while a third declares that her body is her own when she can embrace her imperfections. All responses from women who, at one point or another, have felt the societal pressures of showing up the way others want them to. But in a new video for Planned Parenthood’s powerful campaign, Unstoppable, women and girls answering the prompt “my body is my own” are revealing a powerful truth: This is my life, not yours.
And it’s right on time: Women around the country are facing assault on their rights and their bodies. And outside of access to reproductive health services and the ability to move through the world safely, women’s bodies and the way we live are always up for discussion. The societal pressure to be thin, straight, young and more can be crushing. But Planned Parenthood’s latest campaign is encouraging women to take back the narrative, their bodily autonomy and their confidence.
“It was important for us for the video to be like a rallying call, but a really positive one,” Cynthia Hill, the Emmy-nominated filmmaker who directed the My Body is My Own video, shares with Glamour. “We had to be able to hit on some notes that were very poignant and really be able to be truthful about what women face.”
The campaign’s latest video is a moving look at the way women feel about ownership of their own bodies. In one particularly heart-wrenching moment, two young girls, who happen to be Hill’s own daughters, were asked: “What did Lester say to you that made you feel bad?” The youngest one meekly replies, “He said Sadie was fat.” Sadie, the beautiful girl sitting next to her, finishes the story. “I was watching a movie and he just came in and said ‘wow you’re getting fat.'” Overcome with emotion, she begins to cry. “It did not make me feel good… no one should ever be judged for your body.”
On the car ride home from the shoot, Hill says she asked her daughters if it was OK to use the clip. They both enthusiastically said yes because, despite their few years on Earth, they already knew just how important their message was.
“I think that’s really, in a nutshell, what we want for people to get out of this, is to be able to tell their stories and to tell it with power and to be able to take ownership in a way that is healing and to be able to move forward,” Hill said. “You get to tell your story, you get to control that narrative in a way that you didn’t have control before. It’s no longer something that’s just been done to you.”
The video continues with woman after woman declaring control over their own bodies while defining how they want to live their lives. It is the visual embodiment of the campaign’s first tenant of its manifesto: Our bodies are our own. If they are not, we cannot be truly equal.
Though the entire campaign isn’t linked to any particular political movement, it does aim to bring more awareness to women’s issues that have made their way into the national spotlight in recent months. Those issues include the #MeToo movement and the understanding of consent, continued access to abortion following the appointment of conservative Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh, and equal pay for equal work.
These are all highlighted in the campaign’s other tenants, which include a rallying cry for health care access for all, a world free of sexual assault and harassment, an understanding of consent, the rejection of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and more.
“When I find myself once again plotting the safest course across a dark parking lot to my car or calculating the cost of speaking my mind, I get angry at the immeasurable amount of energy fear drains from me every day,” Hill said in a statement provided to Glamour about the direction of the video. “Fear of assault, or rejection, or my rights being taken away. I don’t want to pass my fears on to my daughters. Instead, I want to be part of creating a world in which they don’t have to be afraid. But I also want to show them that fear is not a reason to stop moving forward. We can listen closely to one another, and speak our truths, and create opportunities to move, and play, and laugh; to learn from one another and grow stronger, together.”
As for what you can do in the fight for autonomy, Planned Parenthood is asking everyone to sign the UNSTOPPABLE Manifesto, which you can find here.
“At the end of the day, my body it’s my own,” the video concludes. “Nobody can make decisions on my behalf except for me.”