|(photo by Hanna)|
The feminist classic, Our Bodies, Ourselves, turns forty this year and has just been issued in a revised edition that was multiple years in the making. How do I know this? Because I got to be a part of the process! Long-time readers might remember when I posted a call for participants in the revision process back in January 2010. Well, in addition to broadcasting the call I also submitted my own name to the editors and was invited to join them in a virtual focus group discussion on intimate relationships. This conversation eventually turned into the “Relationships” chapter in the new edition, and many of the passages that didn’t make it into that chapter have been used in other sections — I found bits and pieces from my contributions in the chapters on sexual orientation and on sexuality, for example.*
|my contributor’s copy, signed by the editorial team!
(photo by Hanna)
I don’t think I can adequately convey to you how proud I am to be a part of the OBOS project. My mother’s battered copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves was my constant companion through adolescence and, among other things, was my first exposure to explicitly feminist analysis, my first exposure to the idea of same-sex relationships, and my introduction to masturbation and how to do it. One of the first things I did when I moved out to Boston in 2007 was to visit the Schlesinger library at Radcliffe and browse the records of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective — the group that put together the first mimeographed edition of OBOS back in 1970. It’s an incredible honor to have had the opportunity to add my perspective to the myriad other voices that have been part of this international endeavor throughout the past forty years.
|It’s so strange to see your own words on the printed page…|
This past Saturday, women from around the globe gathered here at Boston University for a symposium in honor of the new edition. I wasn’t able to make the gathering because of a scheduling conflict (and, frankly, because it sounded like a long day with too many new people to make small talk with!) … but I’m looking forward to checking out the web video of the talks once those go up online. If/when they become available, I’ll be sure to post a link here!
Here’s hoping that OBOS (and I!) will be around in another forty years to celebrate eighty incredible years of women teaching and learning one another about their bodies, their sexuality, their relationships, their values, and their lives.
Update: Thanks to OBOS for mentioning this post in their introduction to the Relationships chapter online! Welcome to anyone who’s come to visit the feminist librarian via their link. You are most welcome.
*It’s standard OBOS practice to keep all of the in-text quotations anonymous in order to protect contributors’ privacy. For the “Relationships” chapter we all chose pseudonyms; if you know me and you care to figure it out you’ll be able to identify me through my bio at the beginning of the chapter.