New this week: Tampax tampons: the first year, 1936 - Humor - Dr. Michael Abramson's poems

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Help Wanted: This Museum Needs a Public Official For Its Board of Directors

Your MUM is doing the paper work necessary to become eligible to receive support from foundations as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. To achieve this status, it helps to have a American public official - an elected or appointed official of the government, federal, state or local - on its board of directors.

What public official out there will support a museum for the worldwide culture of women's health and menstruation?

Read about my ideas for the museum. What are yours?

Eventually I would also like to entice people experienced in the law, finances and fund raising to the board.

Any suggestions?

Letters to Your MUM

The BBC wants to hear from you if your cycle is a blessing, makes you creative, if you have experience with menstrual seclusion, or know about current research !

Here's your chance to say how you feel about menstruation!

Please, may I post a letter on your letter page?

I'm researching a documentary for the BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] about menstruation - myths and facts and blessing or curse.

I have much information about the curse and predjudice but I am finding scant information about the blessing! I was thrilled to find medical information linking surgery for breast cancer and the menstrual cycle and the New Scientist report about differing medication levels required during the 28-day cycle, and the research about eating requirements differing during the cycle etc., but I want to hear from women who have evidence of the cycle as a blessing, for example, artists, writers, etc., who are at their most creative whilst menstruating.

I also want to meet women who practice menstrual seclusion, as with menstrual huts of the past [and of the present; women still use menstrual huts].

And anything and everything to do with research into menstruation.

Next week I am interviewing Mr Peter Redgrove and Penelope Shuttle who wrote the first book on menstruation that offered positive information, The Wise Wound, 1978. I am very excited about asking many questions resulting from the book. If you have any questions for them pertaining to the book or their second book, Alchemy for Women, about the dream cycle corresponding to the menstrual cycle, I would be delighted to forward them to them on your behalf. They are not on the net so any questions would have to have addresses!

Thank you so much for this glorious Web site [many thanks to you for saying that!] and I look forward to hearing from visitors to your site.

Ali Kedge. or

The book Moon Days appears soon


Dear Mr. Finley,

I stumbled over your Web site and was surprised to find it. I had no idea such a thing existed.

I have a book I would like to add to your list of general books about menstruation. It's called Moon Days, and it isn't even out yet; the publishing company I work for, Summerhouse Press, is publishing it in March.

Moon Days is an anthology of work by 25 women and one man describing their thoughts and experiences with menstruation in short stories, memoirs, and poetry. It is introduced by the editor, Cassie Premo Steele, and there is a well-researched preface by one of the contributors about menstruation in Western culture.

Moon Days is a beautiful book and perfect for your list. If you would be kind enough to add it to your list with a link to its location on our Web site, we would really appreciate it.

Moon Days is featured at

The Web site may say its release is February but the printer is a little slow so it will probably be March.

Here are the fast facts:

Title: Moon Days

Editor: Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D.

Publisher: Summerhouse Press, Columbia, SC (U.S.A.)

Release date: March 1999

There will be a limited print run in hardback for $21.95 and a larger printing in paperback for $12.95.

Thank you! I wish there were more men out there like you.


Alice Platt

A mother learned not to be prudish like her mother

I had to laugh when I saw your site and have referred a few of my friends to see it.

I couldn't BELIEVE the 1963 cover of "How shall I tell my daughter?" It looks like me and my mom, albeit 20 years later! Her crowning achievement of my pre-teen years was telling me about . . . menstruation. But I was a precocious little monster and had been secretly reading her Cosmopolitan magazines while she worked and when she got done spitting her "importance in a woman's life" out to me, she asked if I had any questions. I did: "What's an orgasm? In your Cosmopolitan magazine it says that women need those, too."

Mother turned white, yelled for my father and took to her bedroom for the weekend. I was glared at for the next month, not really knowing why I was in trouble, but knowing the power of the word!

My parents were weird. I think I had the heaviest bleeding my first two years known to modern women, yet in spite of my being a figure skater, Mother wouldn't let me wear tampons (I could insert two heavy-duty ones and they'd be saturated an hour and a half later.) My dad also decided to make me take gymnastics when he saw Robin Cousins do a back flip on TV. I was running to the bathroom every ten minutes and stuffing paper towels inside myself so I could perform! When I turned 15, Mother made a private big deal about presenting me with a box of pencil thin Tampax for teens on that birthday.

I am the complete opposite with my own children. My daughters have known of periods since they saw a pack of o.b.'s [tampons] in the grocery cart and asked what they were and I proceeded to open a box in the aisle and tell them. They were too young to understand, but it was liberating for me to talk about it in front of strangers, a couple of women stopping with their daughters to hear what I had to say! I've always kept a high profile of them; I am not embarrassed to ask my husband to pick some up for me, and he doesn't blush when he gets them.

I hate bleeding and I dread my periods because they are so messy, but I'll be damned if my kids are subjected to the Victorian prudishness that I was!

A Japanese woman shows her collection on the Web

Hello, Mr. Finley,

I have just seen your site, MUM.

I am a Japanese woman. I like sanitary napkins and collect them.

I have my own site, which I created and maintain by myself.

There I introduce my collection of sanitary napkins.

A lot of girls and women wrote to me about their experiences of their periods.

I think Japanese woman are more frank than Western women in talking about period and goods, napkins or tampons.

In Japan, not only paper-product companies but also cosmetics companies product and sell napkins. Their commercials on TV are so cheerful.

Anyway, my URL is

I am sorry to you because the site is written in Japanese, but you can see the pictures.

Fujita Kaoru

More about Kotex, from a man:


Very interesting, if unusual, site.

Some info on Kotex from a great book (about marketing) called "Getting It Right the Second Time" by Michael Gershman: Cellucotton [made of cellulose, processed from trees] was a product from Kimberly-Clark which revolutionized treatment of wounded soldiers in World War I when used as a wound dressing [because it could replace more expensive cotton]. Patriotically, the company sold it to the U.S. government at cost.

They invested in manufacturing facilities to increase production to meet demand, then when the war ended, they (again patriotically) cancelled all war contracts, leaving Kimberly-Clark with huge amounts of Cellucotton and no ready market.

[Read Kimberly-Clark's side of the story in its first Kotex ad, in 1921. It does not necessarily contradict this account.]

Eventually, they hit upon Kotex but sales were stagnant until a fictitious nurse named Ellen J Buckland was used in their advertising to discuss "women's problems associated with menstruation."

There is more; see if you can find the book. I got it from a closeout catalogue, but the publisher is Addison Wesley

Keep up the good work, and good luck finding a facility!

For her, The Keeper's a keeper

Hi! I noticed that you don't have any recent letters on the MUM site regarding the Keeper [menstrual cup], but I recently purchased one and I thought I'd contribute my $.02 on it.

When I first decided to order the Keeper, I had read all the commentary on your site, as well as the testimonials on the official Keeper website ( From what I read, it seemed obvious that people either loved or hated this product - there didn't seem to be much in-between. So I was surprised to find that I neither love nor hate the Keeper, although my opinion of it is good enough that I do not plan to take advantage of the three-month money-back guarantee and return it. (As my friend quipped when I told her this, "It's a keeper!" Groan ;-) )

I've used The Keeper for two cycles now. Basically, after the first day or so of my period, I've got no complaints. The first day, though, my flow is so heavy that if I don't empty The Keeper every couple of hours (which is a shorter time than I used to have to change tampons, contrary to what The Keeper brochure tells you), it leaks. And forget about keeping it in all night the first night of my period - major leakage! The first time I did it, I ruined a good pair of underwear; the second time I was smart enough to wear a panty-liner (and I got up once and emptied it during the night, but was still glad for that panty-liner come morning!). Next time I'll probably just bag it and use a super-plus tampon as I used to.

But after that first day/night, no problem. I like it much better than tampons, since I don't have to worry about carrying supplies with me or disposing of anything in the occasional trash can-less bathroom. I've had to empty and reinsert it in public bathrooms only a few times (generally only on the first day or so of my period, when it just can't wait till I get home), but with no real problems once I got the hang of it. I had to cut the stem shorter than the recommended 1/2"in order not to feel it, but that hasn't caused any removal problems for me.

The bottom line: In general, I like The Keeper enough not to send it back, and enough that I've recommended it to several friends. I wouldn't say it changed my life, or that it's the best thing since sliced bread; like all menstrual products, it's got its pluses and minuses. But so far, its advantages seem to outweigh its disadvantages, barring that first night when the only thing that seems to keep me mess-free is a super-plus tampon. (And yes, I'm aware of the dangers of wearing a tampon all night. It's a risk I'm willing to take. I hate pads!)

Feel free to post this on your page, with or without my name attached.

Tina Mancuso

And she likes the Instead menstrual cup

I first tried Instead about a year ago, in early 1998. I found a free sample offer online while surfing the net. I had used a diaphragm before and so had no trouble inserting the cup. It was very comfortable and worked great. I had occasional leakage on heavy days after 4-6 hours but it was still much better protection than a tampon. I also washed and reused my cups for several days, throwing them away when it was inconvenient to wash them or at the end of a period.

Recently I have been unable to find them in the store, so I logged on today to find out why and maybe order direct from the company. I was surprised when I found out their Web site was gone. [The company says it will start it again this spring.] That's how I stumbled onto yours. I am so sad that this company is gone. [But there's a NEW company making and selling it! Call 1-800-INSTEAD for dealers and how to buy it.]

I really don't want to go back to tampons and pads, what a nightmare!! The Keeper looks rather uncomfortable; I would much rather have something similar to Instead. If you know of any other product like this, please let me know. [I don't believe there are similar ones.]

I really like your site. Thanks for keeping those of us women willing to learn informed.

She thanks your MUM for making menstruation entertaining!

Thanks for the informative and interesting Web pages on menstruation. A guy friend of mine sent the link to me at work and I spent a little time on it there, but I was afraid someone would walk in my cube and think I was strange so I'm reading it at home.

I didn't hear you on Howard Stern, and I'm sorry I missed it. I'm a big Howard fan and it's for this very reason. He talks about stuff that most people find offensive. Like menstruation. I think the more people discuss things like this, the better the human race is. I like it when guys talk about menstruation, even the bad parts, because it's a reality they have to deal with too.

On behalf of the female population that have to run out in the middle of meetings, run to the bathroom at ball games, and own at least two pairs of black jeans: Thanks for making it entertaining for once in our lives!

I liked the pictures of all the tampons and pads [and ads and mannequins and patents and . . . .] in your basement. That collection certainly would come in handy if you got snowed in and couldn't make it to the grocery store! [But I need a woman here to take advantage of that!]

Good luck with opening a woman's health exhibit.

The influences of women and upon women


Great Web site, especially when one is experiencing menopause and is almost at an end to the torture. I hope it proves enlightening to many who have no idea how this bodily function affects the lives of women.

Thanks for thinking of us women. Mom must have been a great person.


A site visitor

Do You Have Irregular Menses?

If so, you may have polycystic ovary syndrome [and here's a support association for it].

Jane Newman, Clinical Research Coordinator at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University School of Medicine, asked me to tell you that

Irregular menses identify women at high risk for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which exists in 6-10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS is a major cause of infertility and is linked to diabetes.

Learn more about current research on PCOS at Brigham and Women's Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University - or contact Jane Newman.

If you have fewer than six periods a year, you may be eligible to participate in the study!

See more medical and scientific information about menstruation.

It's Too Late to Call Your Congressman About the Proposed Tampon Safety and Research Act! Congress Had More Important ;-) Things To Do! Here's How and Why for Next Time.

New this week: Tampax tampons: the first year, 1936 - Humor - Dr. Michael Abramson's poems

PREVIOUS NEWS | first page | current news page | contact the museum | menstrual products safety | FAQ | DIRECTORY OF ALL TOPICS

Take a short tour of MUM! (and on Web video!) - FAQ - Future of this museum - Tampon Safety Act - Contact the actual museum - Board of Directors - Norwegian menstruation exhibit - The media and the MUM - Menstrual odor - Prof. Mack C. Padd: Fat Cat - The science and medicine of menstruation - Early tampons - Books about menstruation - Menstrual cups: history, comments - Religion and menstruation: A discussion - Safety of menstrual products (asbestos, dioxin, toxic shock syndrome, viscose rayon) - A Note from Germany/Neues aus Deutschland und Europa - Letters - Links

© 1999 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 to