See ads for menarche-education booklets:
Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday
(Kotex, 1933), Tampax tampons (1970, with Susan Dey),
Personal Products (1955, with Carol Lynley), and
German o.b. tampons (lower ad, 1970s)
And read Lynn Peril's series about these
and similar booklets!
See more Kotex items: First ad
(1921) - ad 1928 (Sears and Roebuck catalog)
- Lee Miller ads (first real person in amenstrual
hygiene ad, 1928) - Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday
(booklet for girls, 1928, Australian edition; there are many links here
to Kotex items) - Preparing for Womanhood (1920s,
booklet for girls; Australian edition) - 1920s booklet in Spanish showing
disposal method - box
from about 1969 - "Are you in the know?"
ads (Kotex) (1949)(1953)(1964)(booklet, 1956) -
See more ads on the Ads for Teenagers main page
THE MUSEUM OF MENSTRUATION AND WOMEN'S HEALTH - 1997
Margie Profet: Read in Science News!
Why do women menstruate?
This is not a silly question, and researchers even today are far apart in finding the answer.
One person, Margie
Profet, became a MacArthur Fellow in 1993 by theorizing
that women menstruate in part to rid the body of the pathogenic bacteria
brought in by sperm from the vagina. This is part of her allergy theories, as is her work on the nature
of morning sickness in pregnancy.
A recent critic of of this
theory is Assistant Professor Beverly
Strassmann of the anthropology department of the University
of Michigan, who maintains that getting
rid of the lining simply saves the body energy. She
has also been investigating the Dogon of Mali, West Africa, since 1984,
partly in order to explain their use of the menstrual hut (see also the photo of a Hawaiian menstrual hut).
John Travis is writing a story about this divergence of
views for Science News magazine, a weekly published by the sponsors of the yearly Science Talent
Search for the Westinghouse science scholarships, probably the most prestigious
competition in the United States for talented high school science students.
I've subscribed to this great little publication for years.
He visited MUM recently to see what this museum could
contribute to his story; the article will probably appear this March (actually
in April) (click
here after the article appears to order it, and here
to browse the Science News site). I will tell you more about the article
after it appears.
Few in the academic community believe
Profet's theory is a good one, said Travis, but Strassmann
and others thank her for giving menstruation
a high profile in academia - we all know it is still
By the way, Travis says Profet is now working in astronomy (!), apparently
discouraged by what she feels is an atmosphere unreceptive to new ideas
in evolutionary biology.
I wish her luck in a field which has interested me since
the fifth grade! Will she win a second MacArthur Fellowship?
By the way, Travis also mentioned that there is speculation
that the high number of menstrual periods a woman has today, 400-500, far exceeds what woman had in previous
centuries because of length of life, fewer pregnancies, etc., and the greatly
increased estrogen a woman is exposed to may have increased the number of breast cancers today.
People From North and South
Recent visitors came from Appalachian State University in North Carolina
(part of a women's literature class) and from Albany, New York, together with their friends
from the Washington area. The Albany folks came all that way just to visit
What great fun this is!
I Had Discovered [The Keeper] When I Was a Teenager."
Another reader comments in our continuing
discussion of menstrual cups:
"I use The
Keeper and find no to little mess on my hands when emptying out its
contents and replacing it. Think about it. The menstrual flow is kept inside
the cup. When you take the cup out, your fingers are not in contact with
that fluid. You empty it, wipe it and reinsert it. Again, no contact with
the fluid. I think it is the greatest thing a woman can use. I am not inconvenienced
with leakage like a tampon, frequent changes of tampons, a string to contend
with, or running out of tampons. I
run long distance with The Keeper and forget that I even have a period. I wish I had discovered this when I was a teenager.
"I have told a few of
my friends about your page, which is entertaining and informative, and I
appreciate your gender limitation awareness on this subject [The founder of MUM and writer of this Web page
is a guy, just a guy,
folks, and aware of the irony]. It makes you more credible recognizing that. Good for you!"
Menstrual Cycle Research Meets in Chicago
The University of Illinois in Chicago hosts the biannual
meeting from 5 - 7 June of the organization founded for those folks in and out of academia
interested in menstruation. The director of MUM is a member.
I will pass on costs, accommodations and tidbits to you
when I get them.
A Measly $24.95 Buys the Truth: Under Wraps
Individual Americans can buy what I think is the best film ever made about menstruation (read below) by calling
Great North Enterprises (403)
482-2022 (Canada) or e-mailing email@example.com
for a video copy.That's $24.95 in American funds. It's worth every penny.
Canadians: call the
National Film Board of Canada at 1-800-267-7710 for a video copy.
contact Great North - do you hear the wind whistling across the arctic
tundra? - about prices and theatrical rights.
By the way, MUM and its director have no financial interest
in promoting Under Wraps, but the film does discuss this museum.
Famous Toxic Shock Researcher Gives Rare Cups to MUM
Dr. Philip M.Tierno, Jr., director of microbiology and
immunology at the New York University Medical Center, and author and co-author
of important studies dealing with the safety of menstrual products, generously
donated a box of Tassaway menstrual cups to this museum. The Tassette Company
made the Tassaway cup before failing in the 1970s, and your MUM had been
despairing of ever finding one. As you can understand, pads, tampons and
cups (menstrual-type) are designed for disappearance, not preservation,
and this is a fantastic gift.
(The cup, by the way, has a solid color represented by
the skin tone on its right side; the blue is an artifact of my inept scanning
ability. It is almost exactly the same
size as The Keeper,
its successor in the late 1980s produced by another company. Note the holes
allowing for regulation of air pressure while in the vagina. See
the instruction sheet for this cup. and an ad for
Why did the menstrual products companies
change the content of their products after the toxic shock terror of 1979
and 1980? Mainly because of the research
of Dr. Tierno and his colleagues.
I won't stop talking about Under
Wraps, the recent Canadian film which features Dr. Tierno. He advises
women today to use 100% cotton menstrual
products because of the continuing danger of toxic
shock and chemical contaminants.
© 1997 Harry Finley. It is illegal
to reproduce or distribute work on this Web site in any manner or medium
without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations
See Tampax tampons (1970, with Susan Dey), Personal Products (1955, with Carol Lynley), and
German o.b. tampons (lower ad, 1981) See a Lucky Strike cigarettes ad from 1933.
See ads for menarche-education booklets:
Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday
See also the booklets How
shall I tell my daughter? (Modess, various dates), Growing
up and liking it (Modess, various dates),
and Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (Kotex, 1928).
And read Lynn Peril's series about these and
See another ad for As One Girl to Another (1942),
and the booklet itself.