She [author Joyce Antler] spoke to some of the highlights of her forthcoming book [“Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices From the Women’s Liberation Movement”], and discussed the hidden Jewish identities of many radical feminists who defined the future of American feminism. The most surprising of this discussion? That eight of the nine original members of the “Our Bodies, Ourselves” collective were Jewish. Jewish identity was not overt in “Our Bodies, Ourselves” activism, nor was it a discussion piece in most of the women’s liberation movement. Nevertheless, … More
The announcement that the organization behind Our Bodies, Ourselves will shift its focus to advocacy as of October 1 and no longer update the book made me feel defeated. But the news also stirred up memories.
We became friends in 1982, studying to be teachers of Hebrew literature at Tel Aviv’s Kibbutzim Seminary. To our Israeli schoolmates, we were “the American Jewish immigrant” and “the Arab,” bound by our odd accents….
Discovering that Our Bodies, Ourselves was available in Hebrew was a transcendent moment, an antidote to the catcalls … More
The countries with the best outcomes for moms and babies provide maternity care primarily by midwives. Massachusetts ranks in the bottom half of US states when it comes to utilizing midwifery care in part due to a lack of integration of certified professional midwives in our maternity care system. A recent report from the National Partnership for Women and Families (Blueprint for Advancing High-Value Maternity Care Through Physiologic Childbearing) recommends that states recognize certified professional midwives and ensure they meet educational and competency standards … More
The group’s success can be attributed to the model of feminist activism they illustrate in their book.
Based in consciousness-raising, it is a model that prompts women to explore issues in the context of their personal experiences, the experiences of others and the best factual knowledge available to them. As they revised the book, the collective incorporated the voices of more and more women, and they urged their readers to consider the issues being discussed in terms of their own lives.
In early editions of the book, … More
Much of today’s wellness rhetoric omits the argument “Our Bodies, Ourselves” placed front and center: that physical and economic health are not easily separated; that knowledge of our bodies demands knowledge of the social and political climate in which we live. There cannot be one without the other, and it is this lesson we must go on learning — if not from “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” then at least, I hope, from one another, and from the model provided to us by the book and its … More
Diana Namumbejja Abwoye started translating the Ugandan version of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” in 2012. That was a year after she received a copy of the book as a birthday present.
She says she had “never read anything about women’s health, sexuality and birth control. So, when I read this book, I learned so much. It changed my life. So, I wanted to pass on this information to other women.”
Listen to the full story: The Global Reach of ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’
Pincus was one of about two dozen women — many of them young mothers — in the Boston area who found themselves in 1969 unhappy with the scarcity of reliable facts about reproduction. Tired of “getting coffee for the guys” in local civil rights and anti-war activist circles, Pincus said, women “wanted to talk about themselves for a change.”
Each chose a subject for research and discussion — often inspired by personal experience, a problem encountered, such as birth control measures that didn’t work, pregnancy, a … More
From the beginning, OBOS promoted a broad and often daring vision of the close ties between women’s health and social, environmental, and political conditions. This cutting-edge point of departure meant that the organization and its publications often served as a pioneer in identifying and grappling with emerging issues, taking on challenges that most other women’s health groups missed or considered outside the purview of dominant reproductive health and human rights conversations.
As the international assisted reproduction landscape grew, for example, OBOS was there. Its signature book … More
In an email to Lifehacker, Norsigian said even more explicitly that OBOS becoming less current felt extremely significant under the Trump administration, which has been working to curtail information about women’s health all over the world.
“This couldn’t be a worse time for OBOS to contract the important work it has been doing,” she wrote. “But with the fiscal realities OBOS faces, this new volunteer-driven model is the best OBOS can do.”
Read the full story: How Will We Figure Out Our Bodies Without ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’?
National coverage focused on the despair many older women felt about losing access to future versions of the beloved, groundbreaking guide to female health and empowerment—although it’s still widely available, the last edition was published in 2011. The publication’s lasting legacy, though, has seeded its own successors, proliferating far beyond what it uniquely produced a half-century ago. And therein lies the rub: Perhaps this is the organization we all wish to run, one so successful at its central mission that its reason for existence has … More