Women Feel Better About
Better information might be making women greet the close of their reproductive
years in better spirits. Many may actually look forward to it.
That's part of the news from the annual meeting of the North American
Menopause Society, in Boston, a few weeks ago.
And here's more: A whopping 80% of women surveyed
by the Gallup Organization are relieved to see the end of their periods,
an amount which seems to agree with what I hear from museum visitors. There's
just too much unpredictability, mess, and societal displeasure associated
with it (see the item just below).
A few weeks ago, I ran in this column a theory
about how menopausal women may have made possible the advance of civilization.
The Gallup survey says that most women do not let menopause stop them from
trying new or risky things.
But many women also believe that menopause is linked with depression
and cancer. Not true, say the experts.
By the way, the executive director of the society is a male, Wulf Utian,
which leads me into the next item.
Questions of Menstruation and Menstrual Hygiene
This week a German woman e-mailed me about the work she is doing
with two others in German schools.
She also asked me about menstrual cups, and she replied to my answers
with the following:
Dear Mr. Finley,
Thanks very much for your prompt reply concerning the cup, even though
(please excuse me) I found it a bit disquieting that my questions were
answered by a male person.
As I might not be alone with this opinion, I think it might be better
that a woman responds to particular questions. I don't want to say anything
against competence of men concerning menstruation in the medical or physical
sense at all - but I'm not sure that a man can really understand what women
feel - feel about their body and internal processes during a certain time
Women and especially young girls who ask such questions do not await
simply an answer.
And so it is essential that they don't get "technical" support
only but rather a sensitive reaction that says: 'Yes, I know what you mean,
I know about your problems, I feel the same, because I am also a woman
and I can help you and advise you, because I am a woman!'
We are a group of three women who found it necessary to teach girls
and women at schools and high schools and colleges the broad field of female
health. We try to answer all questions women hesitate to pose. And this
means especially questions concerning the health of genitalia, menstruation,
menstrual products, sex education for girls (that far too often is neglected
by the parents), etc. We recommend books and other literature, show pads
and tampons and give instructions how to use them.
I became aware of your Museum of Menstruation through the Internet
and I find it a great idea! People (female and male) should know (more)
about that topic, how it was dealt with in the past, what discriminating
and humiliating matter it was still or to our grandmas, what they could
use, what we can use nowadays, how advertising changed through the years
and became freer. Menstruation is more cushy today because of modern hygienic
products and drugs against ache. The mental problem, however, can be reduced
only slowly. Although we are now allowed to bath, cook, job etc. women
still cannot get rid of a subconscious feeling of being impure (and that
in the word's double sense of being dirty and insufficient) - apart from
the undeniable relationship between a psyche which refuses menstruation
(and so womankind in general) and PMS, painful or irregular periods.
Exactly because of these reasons we do our job at schools, arrange
workshops in bookstores or cafes. Because of these reasons a female person
should answer relevant questions.
I don't have my own homepage (I am new on the Internet) but it would
really be a great pleasure for me if I can enlarge my field of activity
and respond to questions female visitors of your pages pose to you.
As I said before, helping women in certain matters is part of my job
and one of my hobbies. We intend to help womankind lose the feeling of
being secondary and want them to accept and feel menstruation as something
very natural and unique which makes us be something, particularly because
we can give birth to new life!
This has nothing to do with feminism or emancipation.
If you are interested you can place a link to my e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will answer everything a woman might ask. It would be a great honor
for me and I of course would do this job honorary, free, gratis!
What do you think about it?
I am 30 years old, and I have a daughter and live in a small village
in southern Germany.
She's right that I will never know what a woman feels. Why not take
her up on this?
As far as running the museum is concerned, Dr. Catherine Ott, of
the Smithsonian Institution and American University here in Washington,
said that it might be better for a museum to be founded and run by someone
for whom the subject is truly foreign (my word), because it gives an objectivity
Dr. Ott and five Smithsonian Fellows visited this museum about two
years ago, and she, on another occasion, cordially showed me and two doctoral
candidates from England what the Smithsonian had in the way of menstrual
historical material. The candidates, from the Southampton Institute, just
outside London, were visiting the U.S.A. on a grant to inspect your MUM.
As I've said before, I'm just a guy!
Speaking of Impure . . .
A mother with her daughter from Baltimore visited MUM Saturday along
with friends visiting them from upstate New York.
The daughter reminisced about how humiliated she felt when, as a young
teenager, a doctor took an x-ray of her pelvis to see if it was broken after
she took a fall. The doctor was very concerned with the x-ray, all right,
but only because of a strange piece of metal that showed up, seemingly embedded
in her. To his relief, and the girl's shame, it was the metal tab which
held her menstrual pad in her sanitary underpants.
This prompted her mother to recall how her mother used to send
her young daughters, herself included, to the store to buy sanitary napkins
for her; she was too embarrassed to do it herself, and the daughters had
no idea what they were.
Australia to Girls!
Australia to Girls!
This just in:
Check out our site for young
You can learn about your body, ask any curly question you might have,
and lots of other fun things!
It is made by Sancella PTY Ltd in Australia - a joint venture between
SCA Mölnlycke (see their exhibit!) and Carter
We sell the Libra pads and Libra Fleur tampons, which in Europe are
called Libresse and o.b.Fleur.
Just the fax, MUM! Did Kimberly-Clark Make
the First Commercial
The gift that Tambrands made to this museum
last week contained instructions for an early tampon named Nunap. As discussed
on the Nunap page, Kimberly-Clark, the maker
of the first widely successful American disposable menstrual pad, Kotex,
made Cellucotton, which these instructions claim as the tampon material.
And the drawing of Nunap is identical to that of the fax tampon,
which I believe is possibly the earliest tampon. This might mean that Kimberly-Clark
made the first commercial tampon!
I said "might mean." Why not find out for yourself? And for
fame and a kind of low-grade fortune? Look no further for a topic for your
term paper or senior thesis! Do some digging, or lots of digging, and enter
the MUM fax and tampon contest,
that perhaps silly search for the urtampon!
You may already be a winner! No, wait, that's another contest. You
might be in a minor motion picture based on
your research - unlikely, but if it happens, you can thank your MUM.
Why are you just sitting there? You should be flipping 1930s newspapers,
sniffing out the Truth!
© 1998 Harry Finley. It is illegal to
reproduce or distribute any of the work on this Web site in any manner or
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