Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Hands up. Who remembers her (or his) first encounter with 'Our Bodies, Ourselves'?

It is 40 years old this year. (Eeek.)
It was described by evangelical pastor Jerry Falwell as "obscene trash."

High schools and public libraries banned it, while teenagers -- male and female -- hid it under their beds like a dirty magazine.

Women across the country passed it to their friends, their sisters, their neighbors. They read chapters about rape in closets with flashlights. They gaped in dorm rooms at the photos of childbirth.

The landmark women's health handbook was filled with sometimes graphic information about the most intimate aspects of women's lives. It was revolutionary in its candid discussions -- and depictions -- of the specifics of sex, birth control, childbirth, lesbianism and other formerly taboo topics.

In 1971, the first "Our Bodies, Ourselves" book sold 250,000 copies. Today, it is available in 25 languages and has sold more than 4 million copies.

It's hard to believe it all began in Boston with just 12 women.

The CNN piece continues with an interview with Judy Norsigian, one of the founders and now executive director of 'Our Bodies, Ourselves'.

What I remember most vividly were the anatomy drawings. Who knew there were so many varieties of vagina?

I referred to it often over the years. The information was always clear, direct, and helpful. I imagine it still is.

Hard to imagine the women's movement without it.

Congrats again to the Boston Women's Health Book Collective.

Image source.

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