Our Bodies, Ourselves Info

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Hailed by The New York Times as a “feminist
classic,” and “America’s bestselling book on
women’s health,” the comprehensive guide to all aspects of
women’s health and sexuality, including menopause, birth control,
childbirth, sexual health, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental
health and general well-being.

Six years after the 2005 overhaul
of this classic guide to women’s health, the 2011 edition focuses
on what Our Bodies, Ourselves does best: provide information on
women’s reproductive health and sexuality; practical information
on how find and access health information; and resources, stories, and
information to educate women about health care injustices and inspire
them to work collectively to address them. This new edition of Our
Bodies, Ourselves
includes the latest vital information on:


-Changes in the health care system—especially how health care
reform affects women and how to get the care you need.

-Safer
sex—how to engage in pleasurable, satisfying sexual experiences
while protecting your health and the health of your partner.


-Environmental health risks—including minimizing exposure to
everyday pollutants that endanger reproductive health.

-Body
image—resisting negative media stereotypes and embracing healthier
approaches to looking and feeling good.

-Local and global
activism—using social media and organizing tactics to build
community and advocate for policies that improve women’s
lives.

-As well as crucial information about gender identity,
sexual orientation, birth control, abortion, pregnancy and birth,
perimenopause, and sexuality and sexual health as we age.


Together with its companion website, OurBodiesOurselves.org, Our
Bodies, Ourselves
is a one-stop resource for women of all
generations.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Our Bodies, Ourselves:

2

November 17, 2012

Not as good as the original
I am old enough to own the original version of this book, released in the 1970s. The book was both educational and comforting to me as a young woman looking desperately for information I could trust and understand. So, when one of my favorite nieces became a teenager, I bought the latest version for her. The information, of course, is solid, as we could expect, but the format is so dense, it's unreadable! Instead of the simply written, well laid out book that meant so much to my younger self, this book is more like a textbook to be left on the shelf with all the other texts we tell ourselves we "should read." At a time when women's reproductive rights are under siege, we really need a reliable source of information and support. I wish they offered cliff notes.
5

January 21, 2016

Best book ever!
I love this book so much. I had one of them whenever I was a young girl back in the early 70s my mom gave it to me and it was my go to for any and every question I had for anything. Now it is my turn to hand this off to my daughter and she will be able to look up things that she might not feel comfortable asking. Even though she knows that she can ask us anything. I highly recommend this for children who are 10-11 or older. You are never too old for this book it answers just about everything.
This product was a personal purchase for myself at the normal retail/list price. I am reviewing it solely because I want to share my experience with other potential customers. I have received no compensation for my review nor do I have any relationship with the seller or manufacturer of this product.
2

Jul 25, 2007

Our Bodies, Ourselves by The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, claims to have “served as a way for women, across ethnic, racial, religious and geographical boundaries, to start examining their health from a perspective that will bring about change”. This may ring true through most of the chapters in this text. However, on the topic of abortion, a political firestorm against religious fundamentalists and anti-abortion groups is unleashed.

Unplanned pregnancies follow birth control methods, Our Bodies, Ourselves by The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, claims to have “served as a way for women, across ethnic, racial, religious and geographical boundaries, to start examining their health from a perspective that will bring about change”. This may ring true through most of the chapters in this text. However, on the topic of abortion, a political firestorm against religious fundamentalists and anti-abortion groups is unleashed.

Unplanned pregnancies follow birth control methods, and sexually transmitted diseases, appropriately. Only seven pages are devoted to making a decision. Brief entries on counseling, adoption, abortion and preparing for the birth are the entire contents of this section. The following section on abortion rights and methods covers twenty-nine full pages. The chapter begins, “Unless women can decide whether and when to have children, it is difficult for us to control our lives or to participate fully in society”. The author then states that for this reason, “women have always used abortion as a means of fertility control”. My answer – control your sex drive, practice abstinence.

Rather inappropriately, the text finishes up with pregnancy and childbirth, followed by growing older, selected medical procedures and the politics of women’s health and medical care. The text spurs on the politically motivated fight for “choice” (i.e. murder of an infant) through and through. Until mainstream feminism can disengage itself from supporting such a horrid practice and battle cry, many women like me will be left disgusted by the one-sided tirades of so-called feminists. Abortion as birth control should not be so commonplace. It should be a last resort and it should not be taken so lightly. In this “choice”, a human life is destroyed – that is the bottom line. Making abortion rights a rallying cry of the feminist movement is a mistake. ...more
4

May 13, 2008

This book taught me why I have hair in all these new places...

*edit*

Liz wrote this review for me last night while I was napping on the couch. I think she's trying to teach me some kind of lesson about leaving myself logged in to websites when I use her laptop.

I've actually never read Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives was my jam in high school. That was the book that taught me why I had hair in new places. It failed to teach me, however, why I couldn't grow a mustache ... a This book taught me why I have hair in all these new places...

*edit*

Liz wrote this review for me last night while I was napping on the couch. I think she's trying to teach me some kind of lesson about leaving myself logged in to websites when I use her laptop.

I've actually never read Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives was my jam in high school. That was the book that taught me why I had hair in new places. It failed to teach me, however, why I couldn't grow a mustache ... a mystery that has yet to be solved. ...more
5

December 2, 2015

Outstanding book about women by women
I've followed this book about women by women from the original edition decades ago when I lived in Boston. Today the medical fields still fail to help women really know their bodies, and this book remains the hallmark of information for women to learn and understand themselves. So grateful as a young woman in finding this book and group of sharing women. It has helped me through life, and now as I enter my 70's.
5

September 9, 2018

Highly Recommend This Book
I bought this book for my husband because frankly, he's not real skilled in the bedroom--he just doesn't seem to know where things are or how they work. The book arrived on the date promised and I put sticky notes on the parts I felt would help him the most and then I left the book in his favorite easy chair in the man cave. He didn't say anything, but late that week, on Saturday night, I could tell that he had read the book!!! I highly recommend this book for wives who want to educate their husbands on the ins and outs of the female body.
1

May 13, 2014

What?
I had an earlier copy of this book from way back and found it really valuable and interesting. They made a serious error in the design, in that they broke up everyones story into these sections were each woman answers a specific question in 1-2 paragraphs. No continuity or context. Real disappointment.
4

Dec 15, 2011

When I first encountered an earlier edition this book at the apartment of a friend I was staying at over break in 1984, it was earth-shattering. Birth control! Lesbians! but most importantly, reinforcement of my nascent notions that I as a woman had worth beyond my womb, and that I deserved to control my own body, my own fate. Now I'm looking to it for information on perimenopause and later-life health issues, and it is still an excellent resource.
5

Mar 20, 2008

Not exactly something you sit down and read cover to cover, but a vital source of information not just on sexulaity and reproductive rights, but on relationships, nutrition, pregnancy, mental health. All my nieces (current and to come) get a copy on turning 13.
5

June 18, 2018

Still a great book after all these years!
OK I’m going to date myself, but I was in college when this book first came out. During that time this book was an eye opener to things that were never discussed in women’s health. I ordered this book when I read they might not be publishing it anymore. This book is still on topic and though I might not need some parts of the book I now read the later in life parts (which I ignored when I was younger).
4

Jan 11, 2008

I bought my first copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves when I was purchasing the books for my first semester's classes in college, and the then-new edition (ca. 1986) was on display for a women's studies class. Part comprehensive reference manual, part DIY health guide, part feminist manifesto (talk about the personal being political!), the book is loaded with useful information about women's physical, psychological, and emotional health issues, interwoven with personal anecdotes. The writers encourage I bought my first copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves when I was purchasing the books for my first semester's classes in college, and the then-new edition (ca. 1986) was on display for a women's studies class. Part comprehensive reference manual, part DIY health guide, part feminist manifesto (talk about the personal being political!), the book is loaded with useful information about women's physical, psychological, and emotional health issues, interwoven with personal anecdotes. The writers encourage all women to learn about their bodies, to advocate for themselves, and to realize that they are entitled to health and happiness.

The book pays particular attention to the health needs of lesbians, women of color, older women, women with disabilities and poor women. It is illustrated with intimate (and sometimes explicit) photos, including some from the original edition in full 70s hippie splendor. But even for women who don't see themselves as particularly crunchy, this really is an indispensable resource for good health information, and as a source of inspiration.

...more
5

Mar 31, 2012

When I was in grade school around 5th grade, I was befriended by a very nice woman. I was terribly sad and in turmoil but I couldn't talk about things with my mom or my brothers. I met her after befriending her cat. As she got to know me, she went out of her way to be kind. Among the things we talked about was my lack of knowledge about my own body. She shared this book with me. Thank you, Lynn wherever you are.
2

October 16, 2013

Whose Body Whose Self
I was really excited to finally get a copy of this book. It's 'the' women's health text. After flipping through it however, I'm honestly disappointed. It probably was a breakthrough in the 70's--when there was next to nothing about health care being marketed to women ourselves. Doctors would not share any information with women about what was being prescribed or performed. Because they were 'the experts' questioning actions was actually considered radical.

But now with the internet available, and a much wider concept of what constitutes women's health, the book merely provides a very basic starting point for certain women's health. Drawings and pictures of women's bodies don't carry that same revolutionary weight.

It does not even/cannot even address the health care needs of all women with all health care conditions. This is an especially big flaw of the book. The present-day information void does prevent all women from understanding themselves and other women. We now have to go elsewhere, including to doctors for health care information. This ironically undersells the original book intention. It was to self-empower women and make us educated about what was happening. It now does not sound like the book is fully aware of what is happening. We're ironically going back to square one; unless you fit a very narrow definition of 'woman' according to this group.

Some doctors are honest and open, others do brush off women and our health care needs--insisting that it is 'all in your head'. So what are we to then do??

It still is a great idea, but I believe that the collective should now put itself completely online. If they are actually physically constrained by hard copy space, don't print hard copies up anymore. Adapt to the 21st century.
3

Jul 19, 2014

I read the latest (21st century) edition and that's the one my review is based on.

There were some really helpful things in here: women's personal accounts of their relationship experience, a solid background/history of abortion rights in the US, and some wonderful links to activist and media tools that I found particularly useful.

Unfortunately:

1) There was no chapter on menstruation! There was one on menopause, and some diseases related to menstruation were listed in the part on diseases, but no I read the latest (21st century) edition and that's the one my review is based on.

There were some really helpful things in here: women's personal accounts of their relationship experience, a solid background/history of abortion rights in the US, and some wonderful links to activist and media tools that I found particularly useful.

Unfortunately:

1) There was no chapter on menstruation! There was one on menopause, and some diseases related to menstruation were listed in the part on diseases, but no regular, straight-up explanation of what a healthy cycle is and how it works. I thought that was a weird thing to leave out.

2) Close to the beginning, in the chapter on eating disorders, they write that pornography gives teenage girls unrealistic ideas about their bodies and about sex (they even cite Gail Dines, a notable anti-porn feminist). And close to the end, in a chapter on VAW, they list "sex work" as a form of violence, state that poverty and desperation "undeniable" drive women into the sex industry, and mention that women in porn are frequently raped/abused by bosses (directors). But in the middle, in a part on sexuality, they basically shrug their shoulders on the whole porn question, saying straight-up that one woman's degradation is another woman's fantasy (sic).

So basically, OBOS admits that porn hurts women inside and outside the industry, but they refuse to take a stand on it overall because some women have masochistic fantasies.

There are many things I could call this kind of thinking/approach; "feminist" isn't one of them.

I will keep this brief and say that feminism exists to destroy a concrete system of (male) power; not to make every individual woman feel comfortable about her (bargained, at the expense of her human dignity) place within that broken system. I will let one of my favourite feminist bloggers expand on this point:

http://glosswatch.com/2014/02/11/on-s...

Updating a book like this with new(er) editions is important, for a number of reasons. But I sincerely hope that earlier editions were more honest about sexuality, and I wish that modern/mainstream feminist stopped trying to reassure women that every single thing they like/do/think/get off on is feminist just because. It isn't; get over it. ...more
4

Mar 23, 2012

This was a classic reference book among my young adult women friends in the 1970's. When my niece started college in the 1990's, I gave her the revised edition. What was so significant about the book in the 1970's is that it predates the Internet. Back then, the authors' provided current factual information on a range of women's health topics that was not readily available from "mom" or older sisters.
5

July 30, 2018

I wlll miss the info and wisdom as this is ...
I wlll miss the info and wisdom as this is the final edition.If you do not have a copy for yourself or your daughter I urge you to get one. Medicine is still behind in informing women of their health issues and needs.
2

May 25, 2012

Credible Informtion
I was curious about this book after learning about in my Women in History class. We were covering the feminism wave, Ms, etc. The teacher had an older copy she shared with the class and I briefly looked at. Knowing that the 9th edition came out I decided to purchase a copy. Well, I read some of the chapters and I can't fully agree with the information. I would be a little concerned giving this to my daughter, (if I had one) because some of the info, I feel, isn't accurate. I found it interesting that no medical personnel contributed and the source of the info came from laypeople. The one section that bothered me was on conducting your own internal exam. I also went to the website they listed where you can buy a kit and I can't imagine any woman sitting on the floor with a speculum doing their own internal exam. What would happen if you injured yourself with a tool on doctors know how to use? I also took a Women's Health class by a MPH and I think her information was much more credible than what is in this book.
5

Oct 24, 2012

I've had this book forever, or at least what feels like it: the mid-'80s, at least. When I pulled it off the shelf today to add it here, I was greatly amused to discover, tucked in the back, the syllabus from my 1988 Human Sexuality class in college.

Although I am sure that there are more modern, more up-to-date, references on women's health out there, this title remains for me a (no pun intended) seminal work. Because I discovered it when I was coming of age both sexually and emotionally, and I've had this book forever, or at least what feels like it: the mid-'80s, at least. When I pulled it off the shelf today to add it here, I was greatly amused to discover, tucked in the back, the syllabus from my 1988 Human Sexuality class in college.

Although I am sure that there are more modern, more up-to-date, references on women's health out there, this title remains for me a (no pun intended) seminal work. Because I discovered it when I was coming of age both sexually and emotionally, and because it is written from such an empowering perspective, it will always be a touchstone and my jumping-off point when looking for knowledge about health. ...more
5

Apr 06, 2008

This book was my mother's subtle way of letting me know it was ok to ask her questions about my ovaries. And I certainly was obsessed with my ovaries back in the day.

The best book for female sexuality and anatomy in print. Period. Our Bodies, Ourselves has a liberal agenda - and one that most feminists, or in the case of my generation, post-feminists, and resonates a political agenda that agrees with the morality and sexual health practices of modern women.

Excellent.
4

Sep 12, 2011

Best book on women's health that I've read. Great resource to have on hand.
5

January 2, 2019

Excellent educational tool for understanding changing bodies and changing minds
Excellent book for teaching young women and men about their bodies. Primarily written for girls and women of all ages (as it goes through menapause) there are aspects that are appropriate for boys and men... about themselves and also to educate themselves about the women in their lives.
Quite comprehensive and easy to understand. A much older edition was what my mother got for me and my sitters when we were preteens And it was quite well read
5

January 15, 2019

Great Book
Everything that you need to know about woman, it’s in this book. I found that this book very useful, very informative and it is also help mothers who want their daughter can understand easily how important to know about themselves and all about women’s world, history and take care their own body.
4

Jan 17, 2008

I actually have no idea when I first read this book--a couple to a few years ago, I guess. And yes, I read it cover to cover. It's a great reference to go back to again and again, and the companion website (www.ourbodiesourselves.org) is rather helpful too. It has links to all kinds of resources that might otherwise be hardish to find. The reason I thought to mention and review it now is just that I had a few questions that I just kept googling and re-googling only to find no answers at all. I actually have no idea when I first read this book--a couple to a few years ago, I guess. And yes, I read it cover to cover. It's a great reference to go back to again and again, and the companion website (www.ourbodiesourselves.org) is rather helpful too. It has links to all kinds of resources that might otherwise be hardish to find. The reason I thought to mention and review it now is just that I had a few questions that I just kept googling and re-googling only to find no answers at all. Then I take one quick peek at my copy of Our Bodies Ourselves, and lo and behold, my questions are answered simply and fairly thoroughly and in a voice that is empowering. While sometimes it can be a little distracting, I really love how the writers use the words "we" and "us" rather than "you." The language really helps to make the knowlege offered feel more like options to explore rather than a tirade or even just a nudge. At no point while reading the book does it make me think, "Oh this is what THEY say I should do," or "This is what the EXPERT says, so I'll do that." It's pretty inclusive. ...more
2

Oct 02, 2014

I only read the few chapters that I thought would be about fertility. It had textbook information but too much of a liberal slant and not enough information for those who do want children. No mention of the long- or short-term detrimental physical and emotional effects of abortion and birth control either. The general attitude was very selfish and focused only on the woman, not considering the effects her choices have on others.
5

Jul 09, 2014

Wow. My copy is nearly 20 years old. I feel ancient. An excellent owner's manual to the body.

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