'Our Bodies, Ourselves,' Updated

Safe sex, breast implants, fad diets and gender identity are among the new topics tackled in an updated edition of "Our Bodies, Ourselves," widely considered the first feminists' health book specifically for women.

The original book began in the spring of 1969, when a dozen women at a conference got together and compared "doctor stories." That group eventually became the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, and their experiences became the foundation of their groundbreaking work.

The book has sold over 4 million copies and is published in 20 languages. Now, it's been updated in, "Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era."

Judy Norsigian was one of the original collective members and authors and is executive director of the collective.

On The Early Show Thursday, she told co-anchor Rene Syler, "You must understand that, back in the late '60s, early '70s, we knew nothing about (many of the issues discussed in the books). We were college-educated women that had very little (women's health) education, background. And the definitions of female sexuality were all distorted and inaccurate. We had to recreate our own body of knowledge.

"We were appalled by our own ignorance about our bodies. We were also part of the women's movement, trying to change the social norms.

"One of the reasons women didn't get good medical care and actually were dissatisfied is that they were very passive. They were being 'good girls.' They listened to their doctors, never asked questions. And very often, doctors were not practicing evidence-based medicine, because actually there wasn't much evidence anyway. And that's changed somewhat over the years. So women are asking questions, feel more entitled, know they have to get information and have to be an informed consumer, an informed individual when it comes to health and medical care decisions.

"Over the years, there's been tremendous interest in women's health issues, there is more research. We've been part of that effort to create more research in this field."
  • Brian Dakss

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