How One Book Educated Generations About Their Bodies #OBOSTaughtMe

By Miriam Zoila Pérez — November 6, 2015


OBOS means information to me. Years ago, I remember purchasing the book that finally answered so many questions for me I couldn’t believe it. I brought one for my friends because I wanted them to have the same knowledge base of questions we dare not ask others. –Vanessa Antrum

For decades, the book “Our Bodies, Ourselves” has been the go-to resource for people around the globe searching for honest, unbiased and uncensored information about women’s health, sex, sexuality and so much more.

Nearly half a century after a booklet sparked a revolution in women’s health, Our Bodies Ourselves – the organization – continues to create health and sexuality information, battle disinformation, protect women’s rights and work with global women’s groups that are adapting the book for women in their countries.

Now OBOS is fundraising to keep its mission going for another half century.

The campaign is centered around #OBOSTaughtMe, and asks readers and supporters to share the life changing things they’ve learned from OBOS. (And, of course, to donate! OBOS must raise raise $100,000 by Dec. 1).

Collecting these kind of stories of how OBOS has impacted readers’ lives is not new, though, and I’ve pulled a few from our archives to highlight the kind of impact OBOS has had over the years.

And of course, we invite you to share your story on social media, or upload your own #OBOSTaughtMe photo here.

body size doesn't determine worth

What OBOS did was help me realize that women– women with very different backgrounds and from very different life experiences — have been mobilizing for years to create resources for girls like the one I was then. OBOS provided a community of sorts, a refuge, in which women discussed their own thoughts and fears and insecurities and shared information with one another in a way that alleviated my fears and my feelings of isolation. –Vanessa Fernando

In 1986 I was a senior in college, had just ended a relationship with my boyfriend who had anger management challenges from some unresolved issues in his past. Then I found out I was pregnant. Fortunately I owned a copy of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” I always knew I would carry my pregnancy to term and raise the baby on my own. All through this OBOS was my midwife — always informative, always encouraging me to hear and express my own voice. –Maura Ann Dowling

I was 10-years-old and in the sixth grade when my mother gave me the 1984 version of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” I read the 900-page tome eagerly, cover to cover. I learned about my body, about sexual health, sexual pleasure, masturbation, birth control and abortion, about reproductive rights and women’s rights and the continuing, intertwined struggles for those rights. By high school it was well-worn: dog-eared and oft-consulted. Twenty-four years later, “Our Bodies, Ourselves” remains one of the most important books I have ever read. –Sarah Peck

Read more reader stories here.

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