Our Doctors, Ourselves: Barbara Seaman and Popular Health Feminism in the 1970s

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September 16, 2019

This essay examines the career of feminist journalist Barbara Seaman and her contribution to the circulation of health feminist ideas in the 1970s. Seaman, author of the influential exposé The Doctors’ Case Against the Pill (1969), became a noted critic of women’s health care and of gynecologists in particular. In her next book, Free and Female (1972), and in newspaper articles, interviews, and television appearances, she implored women to “liberate” themselves from their gynecologists and empower themselves in the arena of health care. Seaman’s media engagement contributed to the development of a “popular health feminism” that took the ideas of the women’s health movement public for mainstream audiences to consume and engage with.