Book Burning

On April 11, 1972, members of the Advocates for Medical Information (AMI) gathered on the Diag to burn selected pages of the textbook Obstetrics and Gynecology (1971), edited by the University of Michigan’s Dr. J. Robert Willson. One protest organizer argued that the book was unrepentantly sexist, pointing out the following passages:

“Every aspect of a woman’s life is colored by her ability to accept the masochism that is part of her feminine role... [The normal woman] sacrifices her own personality to build up that of her husband.”

AMI hoped that this action would prompt revisions to medical textbooks that depicted women in infantilizing and demeaning ways. Himself a supporter of expanded women’s reproductive services, Willson did revise the book in response to the feminist criticism. The chapter was changed in the 1975 edition to cite feminist literature such as Our Bodies, Ourselves, Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics, and Robin Morgan’s Sisterhood is Powerful.



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