Every streak must come to an end and so the end has come for “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” The bible of women’s health is going out of print and its website will no longer update.
The book was born from the work of a dozen women who had met at a women’s liberation conference at Emmanuel College in 1969, the Boston Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert wrote Friday. It began as a 35 cent pamphlet but became one of the most influential books of the century.
Passed down, often wordlessly, from mother to daughter, the book provided women intimate insights into their own bodies and presented forbidden topics, from menstruation to masturbation, complete with illustrations.
“We didn’t have the Internet as we know it today,” said Jaclyn Friedman, the feminist author, who is 46. “If I had questions about my body, before I went to the doctor, I went to ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves.’ It was so comforting to have. It was totally nonjudgmental.” And, she noted, its encyclopedic range covered everything from pregnancy to mysterious aches and pains.
“It treated them equally without shame and equally seriously. I just felt like the book took me seriously, took my body seriously, and believed that I could understand things about my body also,” she said.
Years after she discovered the book, Friedman got to contribute to it. She had published the 2008 book “Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape” with coauthor Jessica Valenti, and was emerging as an authority on sexual consent.
“It was such a crazy honor,” Friedman said. “It felt like being invited into the collective knowledge of feminism.”
“We came to the painful conclusion, after several years of struggling financially, that we don’t have the resources and infrastructure to continue our main programs using paid staff,” a statement on the group’s website said. “We take great pride in the transformative impact that our publications and advocacy have had in the lives of millions of girls, women, and their families in the United States and around the world.”
“Maybe it is time for the third wave of feminism to come along,” trauma researcher Judy Herman said, “and create the next generation’s version of ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves.’ ”