"Our Bodies Ourselves" turns 50

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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Minnie the Minx
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"Our Bodies Ourselves" turns 50

Postby Minnie the Minx » 24 Apr 2021, 14:43

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyl ... ens-health

The Guardian ran an article this week about the 50th birthday of "Our Bodies Ourselves" which had a far more detailed history and legacy than I ever really thought about. My stepmum's copy was in the bedroom, a sort of buff pink and purple colour, and I used to read through it for hours with a limited understanding of much of the content. I persevered because I knew that if it was on the shelves of every other trendy leftie house we visited (and it was) that it must be full of vital information.

My memory of it is only in chunks, but I do remember several pages of black and white photographs of different labia to demonstrate how different they all were and that there was no uniform "style." This was before I started my periods so I was a bit alarmed to see a tampon string which I assumed meant the person had worms. I also vaguely remember a "step by step" guide to knocking one out which had a list of suggestions accompanied by drawings of a woman in a smock who looked like Miriam Margolyes, first "having a nice bath by candelight" and "listening to some music you really like and having a nice, home cooked dinner" - this had the Miriam lookalike putting a record on and whirling round while her cat watched.

I really only looked at this book before I hit my teenage years but do remember feeling grateful that I got an understanding early on that there was no cookie cutter body shape and size. I'm sure it was full of a lot of insinuation that men were all shits, though I don't remember that specifically, and I'm also sure that there was a general sense of discussion about sex in very earnest terms and the suggestion of what sex "could be" if you decided to focus on your needs and not that of a male partner.

Did you or your relations have a copy? Maybe you still have it? Do you still look at it?
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Re: "Our Bodies Ourselves" turns 50

Postby Six String » 24 Apr 2021, 17:53

I don’t know if Rebecca knows this book but she has told the story many times of being in school and a class on women’s health and they were doing a lot of lying on tables with speculums and flash lights checking things out. It was held in the cafeteria (but not at meal time).
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Re: "Our Bodies Ourselves" turns 50

Postby Minnie the Minx » 25 Apr 2021, 00:02

Bloody hell!!! :D

By total coincidence I was doing some gardening today and there was a programme about the book on Radio 4. They said that some schools did use it and there was a fabulous right wing backlash!
You come at the Queen, you best not miss.

Dr Markus wrote:
Someone in your line of work usually as their own man cave aka the shed we're they can potter around fixing stuff or something don't they?


Flower wrote:I just did a google search.

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Re: "Our Bodies Ourselves" turns 50

Postby trans-chigley express » 27 Apr 2021, 05:18

I've never heard of it. Sounds intriguing, especially the "knocking one out" guide.

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Re: "Our Bodies Ourselves" turns 50

Postby Minnie the Minx » 27 Apr 2021, 14:13

It seems to be far less ubiquitous than I imagined!
You come at the Queen, you best not miss.

Dr Markus wrote:
Someone in your line of work usually as their own man cave aka the shed we're they can potter around fixing stuff or something don't they?


Flower wrote:I just did a google search.

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Re: "Our Bodies Ourselves" turns 50

Postby Livet » 27 Apr 2021, 14:50

I remember it well! It was like a bible to my teenage self. There was loads of information (sex, health), and the chapter detailing all the pros and cons of different birth control was really a great guide. My memory is foggy, but I'm pretty sure it was widely read by my friends (as opposed to my older sisters - they were probably already off getting married...)
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Minnie the Minx
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Re: "Our Bodies Ourselves" turns 50

Postby Minnie the Minx » 27 Apr 2021, 15:02

Thank god for that! I was beginning to think I imagined it all! :D
You come at the Queen, you best not miss.

Dr Markus wrote:
Someone in your line of work usually as their own man cave aka the shed we're they can potter around fixing stuff or something don't they?


Flower wrote:I just did a google search.