The Guardian looks at the history of the book, which started in the Boston area: The clitoris, pain and pap smears: how Our Bodies, Ourselves redefined women’s health.
Though I'm male, "Our Bodies, Ourselves" reminds me of that early 70s time when it seems there was something new or mind-expanding going on around every corner. "The Whole Earth Catalog" too, which I first saw in the old Erewhon health food store on Newbury Street, back when Newbury street was actually cool.
BUSPH hosted a webinar earlier this week commemorating the anniversary, featuring Our Bodies cofounder Judy Norsigian, among others. The recorded webinar is available via the link below, you need to scroll down almost to the bottom to access the video.
In the mid-1970s, all incoming freshmen women at my school were given a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves - which was only about 1/2 inch thick at that point. It was wonderful!
as a young man. I think it was my first real window into many of the challenges women face in our society.
Reading the paperwork that was inside a tampon box was enough for me
(I did this as a kid.. I know more about TSS than I ever wanted to know)
Started reading it in my pre-teens and bought updated copies every five years or so.
The book was revised as I remember but not sure when it was last revised. I'm from the generation of women who was schooled by Judy Blume books as a teen so what do I know.
As a guy.. and someone who loved Judy Blume.. I read that book and learned so much.
Sure it was dated but for a 10 year old in 1986, it was good enough.
A must read for a Boston teen boy when it came out. Game changing info.
The Schlesinger Library has the papers from the Boston Women's Health Collective & they're fascinating.
My mom gave me my first copy of OBOS when I was 12 or 13, which was pretty progressive for a southern Catholic woman in 1979. I asked her about it, years later. She told me a doctor at the base in Mannheim had pushed her to take thalidomide when she was pregnant with one of my older sisters. She picked up the scrip but never used it, thank goodness. Mom wanted my sisters & me to have a copy of OBOS since she didn't trust the medical advice she had gotten herself from Air Force doctors, and she didn't want my sisters or me to do anything they said without double-checking it.
If your mom's Air Force doctors in (presumably) the late 1950s were anything like my mom's Army doctors some years earlier (also in Germany), they were not exactly expert in OB/GYN matters of any sort.
Sometimes it was the mindset that precluded decent care (let alone "expertise") and it was not exclusive to military doctors. My mother has choice words for the horror-show memory of her first PCP where she and Dad lived when first married - he was one of a (hopefully) dying breed, the type that believed women tended to be a little dramatic and overwrought, and one of his standard prescriptions would be tranquilizers.
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