"Our Bodies, Ourselves," the classic book about women's health and sexuality written for women by women, celebrates its 40th anniversary this week. In this excerpt from its new 2011 edition, a look at what has changed since the 1970s.
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Changes Since First Edition
Much has changed in the United States since the first edition, when abortion was illegal, birth control was not widely available and the few available texts on women’s health and sexuality—almost all written by men— discounted women’s experiences and perspectives.
Today, information is abundant, but it is still difficult to find reliable information that encompasses the diversity of women’s experiences and teases apart the conflicts of interest inherent in many issues that affect women’s health.
Far too often, corporate and pharmaceutical interests influence medical research, information and care, and contribute to the unnecessary medicalization of women’s bodies and lives. This not only wastes money and poses avoidable risks but also can discourage women from questioning the assumptions underlying the care they receive and from valuing and sharing their own insights and experiences.
The need for a book like "Our Bodies, Ourselves" remains as strong as ever.
Changing the medical system, organizing for better care and altering the larger social, political and economic forces that limit women’s lives require creative and concerted efforts over a long period of time. We believe that enhancing reproductive health and sexual pleasure can play a significant positive role in all our lives and strengthen us as we work toward sustaining a vision of a world that will better nurture all women, men and children.
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Our Bodies Ourselves (also known as the Boston Women's Health Book Collective) is a nonprofit organization that provides clear, unbiased information about women's health. The new edition of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" was written and edited by an editorial team, including Kiki Zeldes (senior editor); Christine Cupaiuolo (managing editor); Judy Norsigian, Amy Romano, Wendy Sanford (contributing editors); Ayesha Chatterjee (OBOS Global Initiative coordinating editor); and June Tsang (editorial assistant).
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