It is impossible to overemphasize the impact of this next book in my week of banned books. This is the year my mother–who had worked for fifteen years, at least–went to look at new cars and was told, “Come back with your husband, and we’ll talk to you.” Is it any wonder that at the gynecologist she and other women like her would be told, “Don’t worry your pretty head about it, honey.” Forty years isn’t really that long. It’s not. And yet, forty years ago women were ignorant about their bodies and were not encouraged to learn–in fact, were told not to.
And then a group of twelve radical “women’s libbers” (in an era of, “I’m not a women’s libber, but…”) got together and wrote a handbook for a woman’s body that dealt with everything from menstrual cycles to pregnancy to menopause, complete with line drawings of male and female genitalia. And yes, it was called “obscene trash” by Jerry Falwell. The book was banned by high school and public libraries across the country.
A book to teach women about their bodies, about what is normal, about how to take care of themselves.
Our Bodies, Ourselves sure taught me a lot, and it has been the textbook of choice that thousands of moms have given their daughters in the past four decades.
You’ve come a long way, baby.
And Our Bodies, Ourselves is a key reason why.
As important today as it was then. I think I need a new copy.