A NEW VIEW OF A WOMAN'S BODY by Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers


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A consciousness-raising-type guide to what seems to be the new push of the women's health movement: gynecological self-examination. The Federation fills out its step-by-step-description of breast, vaginal, and cervical self-examination with an account of its own development, as an organization, from one ""self-help clinic."" The philosophy, which comes through loud and clear, is that a woman with an otherwise-healthy body cannot be too fat, thin, hairy, tall, and so on; the authors hope, thereby, to make women comfortable with their bodies, to ""break down barriers between womert and replace them with new ways of communication."" But while the book is envisioned as a follow-up to Our Bodies, Our Selves, many of the instructions--on, for instance, how to perform menstrual extraction (""a means for a woman to exert influence over changes in her body which she could not control before, in order to eliminate occasional discomfort or inconvenience or an unwanted pregnancy"")--are likely to put the Federation at the outer limits of what, by general agreement, constitutes safe or beneficial health maintenance, And there are probably few self-help groups, still, where these activities (""after inserting the speculum and taking a look at her cervix, she offers the other members of the group a look"") have a comfortable, regular place. For a similar philosophy (and self-exam instructions), linked with more careful, thorough advice, see Lynda Madaras and Jane Patterson's Womancare (p. 336).

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1981
Publisher: Simon & Schuster