Generally speaking, we don’t get all that excited about book covers. Words and images may entice you to pick the book off a shelf, but covers don’t usually have their own story to tell.
That’s why we’re so thrilled to introduce the new cover of the ninth edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” The cover features 52 (!) women, from young to old, who have been influenced in some way by reading “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”
How did this cover come to be? In preparation for the 40th anniversary edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” we posted a call for photos of readers. We heard from women all over the United States and as far away as Tanzania — where a locally produced health resource based on “Our Bodies, Ourselves” is used to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates.
Many recalled receiving “Our Bodies, Ourselves” from a parent, sibling, friend or teacher. Some readers also submitted their stories to the blog.
We received hundreds of submissions and sent the photos that met size/quality requirements to the publisher, Simon & Schuster. Its art team went to work on a design that would incorporate as many photos as possible and reflect both the diversity and the connectedness of readers’ lives and experiences.
OBOS readers provided the inspiration. One woman wrote with her submission: “I first picked up ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’ for a human sexuality class in college. Since then, the book has been my ‘go to’ book. Even in a time when I can just plug in questions into Google, it is so much more meaningful when I can open a book that I know has touched the lives of many women. That common experience means so much more than a search engine.”
That theme is also highlighted in the cover quote by none other than Gloria Steinem: “Within these pages, you will find the voice of a women’s health movement that is based on shared experience. Listen to it — and add your own.”
We note in the book’s introduction that this revised and updated edition includes the voices and perspectives of more women than ever before. A month-long online conversation about sexuality and relationships involving more than 30 women turned into the Relationships chapter. Stories from OBOS’s global partners who are working to advance women’s health and human rights in their own communities — reshaping health care policy in Nepal, for instance, or distributing HIV-awareness posters via canoe in rural Nigeria — are interwoven throughout the text.
More information about the focus of this edition is available here. The book also features recommendations from a number of new reviewers, including Loretta Ross, Miriam Zoila Pérez, Tavi Gevinson (the first teenage reviewer!), and Nancy Redd.
“Our Bodies, Ourselves” will be released Oct. 1 (it just became available for pre-order). We’ll set something up online by then so there’s a place to do what Steinem suggested: Add your own voice and share your story.