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
No Time to Publish Catamenia
You folks who have gotten the paper version of Catamenia,
the MUM newsletter, will receive it no longer.
Lack of time caused by my having to work for a living
at something totally unrelated to this museum - I am a graphic designer,
painter and cartoonist with a billion interests - forced me to choose between
the newsletter and this Web site. Those of you who all by yourself have
written, laid out, printed, folded, stuffed into envelopes, licked the stamps
for, slapped on mailing labels for, and hauled (in several trips) to the
post office 600+ newsletters four times a year (at the beginning) will appreciate
This Web site has the advantage of quickness of publication,
low cost, color and an extraordinary range of unsolicited readership. There
are no mailing lists, no changes of address, no trudging to the printer
and post office, no - well, I think you understand.
What I regret is not reaching those folks
without access to computers, who form a large minority of the Catamenia
Stomach problems for me have been the result of trying
to do too much, and I have to take it easier to avoid worse problems.
I had wanted to create a museum and forum for menstruation
as a kind of gift to women, who have been so important to me all my life
(starting with my mother); and they are the center of my art. I have succeeded
in doing this, but further development will require more than just me. I
hope I will have the energy to finish the job.
The Web version of Catamenia,
which contains longish personal narrative, will remain here.
Who Are More Prudish Than the Americans?
Maybe the Japanese, at least in some ways, says Judith Newman, a writer for Cosmopolitan
and other magazines.
Newman was interviewing the founder of MUM (yours truly)
last Saturday for an article on male attitudes towards menstruation. I mentioned
that the Japanese, and Asians in general, much prefer pads over tampons,
in part because of insertion and withdrawal messiness.
This reminded her of the concern Japanese women have about the sounds accompanying urination and defecation when in public toilets.
To conceal them, many constantly flush the toilet (something some American
men do when using a urinal, although possibly for different reasons). To
stop this great waste of water, some
public toilets have recorded sounds of flushing toilets playing over a loudspeaker! Hey, why not?
When I was a kid in a family of four males and one female,
my poor mother
(who grew up the youngest in a family of an even greater ratio, although
in the opposite direction, 6 to 1), resorted to all sorts of stratagems to prevent anyone from knowing
she performed the above-mentioned functions. I grew up thinking women were different creatures altogether. I was also my mother's favorite.
Is this why there's a Museum of Menstruation today?
See Provocative Art, Nice Site
First look at Jean Tracy's Art of
Menstruation here at MUM (you too can show your art for free), then
click to Moon Hutch, her new
Web site about menstruation. Nice! (There's no financial tie-in, folks,
even though her site is commercial).
Conceded: the Menstrual Cup
Instead is Messy
A recent visitor to the museum from Bozell Worldwide Advertising in New York,
which makes the ads for Instead menstrual cup (see the
many discussions below about the various cups), agreed with me that
using the cup can be a messy experience. The
company does not deny this. She said Ultrafem, which
makes Instead, encourages users to carefully read the instructions, and
as with tampons, practice really helps.
An Instead user herself, she said the huge advantage of being able to keep the cup in all day, and during
sex far outweighs the faults, which include its one-time use. And she kindly
donated a box of the cups to the museum.
Studies have shown that cups in general
are safer than tampons and pads.
The visitor's companion was a man who worked for Proctor
and Gamble, of Rely
tampon infamy (Rely was the tampon which triggered the toxic shock terror in 1979-80). He admitted
he was skeptical about the museum before arriving - most people are - but
soon told me he had never thought menstruation could be this interesting,
or that it embraced such a wide range of topics.
By the way, men as
bodyguards have accompanied female visitors to the
museum since its founding over two years ago; I can understand this. The sooner MUM sits in a public place the better!
The couple was black, which is very unusual. Probably
95% of visitors are white women with an often reluctant male.
Men Suffer More Than Women
Visitors to MUM tend to be intelligent and well-informed,
and the tour guide sometimes learns as much as the museum-goer.
A good example is the nurse who told me that a recent
study showed that men tend to become
more depressed than women when they have to wear adult diapers for incontinence.
Women have been used to absorbing various discharges from
their nether regions since puberty, and the wearing of special undergarments
again, although in advanced years, is at least familiar.
But men are not used to this. My guess is that men regard
it at best as a feminine thing to do, thus just another reduction
of their masculinity, along with physical frailty,
declining ability in sex, etc. And whereas menstruation is normal, and the
equipment to absorb it is too, incontinence is not normal and not masculine
And of course diapers mean children. In much of Western
society, childishness is a characteristic sometimes valued by men in women,
as much as this idea may disturb many people. Male independence and male
protection of women are themes running through our culture. Childish men
- well, they're not men.
Grow up, you may say; I've already heard this from women
when I talk about the report. But I've observed that old age is a new challenge
to everybody, and we are all beginners, even when old.
Death itself is a fresh experience for
© 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.