Our Bodies, Ourselves: Forty and Fabulous

photo from jewishcurrents.org

It’s hard to believe that just 40 years ago, Our Bodies, Ourselves was published for the first time – and that it was such a groundbreaking achievement. As someone too young to remember that time, it can be difficult to wrap my head around just how different things were. Forty years isn’t really that long. Yet, 40 years ago, abortion was still illegal, less than 10% of doctors were women, and even the best of us were saying things like “lavender menace” to refer to lesbians. It’s also hard to believe that only 12 women worked on the first edition.

So much has changed, largely for the better. Abortion is legal (despite the best efforts of the House Republicans and state legislatures), more and more women entering the field of medicine, and the women’s movement itself has become much more inclusive and open to diversity. Perhaps more than all this, the biggest change for the beloved women’s health tome is technology. There was no Internet 40 years ago – at least not in the mainstream like today. At a time when books of all kinds are in danger, is Our Bodies, Ourselves still necessary?

I say yes. My friend Suzanne gave me a copy for my birthday a few years back. Considering that we both worked at Planned Parenthood, and have the blessing of a good education, it wasn’t a book I needed. But it was a great gift. It was the perfect thing for her to give me, acknowledging our love all things women, as well as our shared love of books. It’s on my shelf, next to other feminist literature, and it reminds me our friendship as well as all that the book has to offer.

Also, we are in an age of massive amounts of information, from all places, some more reputable than others. Our Bodies, Ourselves is a trusted source for accurate, unbiased information. It may not be as convenient as a quick Google search, but any reader can rest assured that the information has been vetted and will be useful.

Like other books, Our Bodies, Ourselves has made the transition into the digital age. It’s now available as an e-book, and much of the information is available online. Plus, they have a blog, OurBodiesOurBlog.com. Gotta love that. Much as the women’s movement that the book is a part of, this beloved treasure has evolved to meet the current climate.

CNN has a slideshow with letters from readers of the book. It’s a great reminder of how incredibly necessary this book once was – and how controversial. Jerry Falwell called it “obscene trash.” Talk about street cred. Kudos to the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective for putting us on a path to accurate information, and acceptance.

About Colleen Eliza

I'm a feminist, a progressive activist, a writer, and most importantly, a huge fan of my dog. She's the very best.
This entry was posted in Books, Feminism, Politics, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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