Mind Your Sis and Mum, Hon! Call Your Congresswoman/man!

Did you know that there is a bill in Congress to fund testing of tampons and pads for disease-producing material without using the money of the manufacturers?

Women put pads and tampons onto and into their bodies for decades, and we really don't know what harmful effects they may have.

Do you trust the manufacturers to tell you?

In 1975, a small newspaper in Rochester, New York, challenged Procter & Gamble to tell the truth about its Rely tampon, which had problems obvious to many people. Only after the tampon killed and maimed scores of women five years later did the government force P&G to withdraw it from the market.

Read these historic articles, a gift to your MUM last year, plus other items about the Rely tampon, which "even absorb[ed] the worry."

And read the great item about this new funding effort, at SIS, Shop Information Services, a nonprofit site for women consumers run by a former New York Times reporter, Frances Cerra Whittelsey. You'll find much more information about this health effort, but also important information about what to buy and what to avoid in the consumer world, and the silliness of many products.

But please give your support, and call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, or click here, to contact your Congressional representative about this bill, H.R. 2900.

"Women have a right to know about vaginal products," says Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the New York Democrat who is sponsoring the legislation.

It's a matter of life and death.

To Your Health!

This just in:


Thanks for this great site! I'm going to add a link to the Museum of Menstruation to my new Menstruation Net links category (which I'm creating today) at Womens Health- The Mining Company http://womenshealth.miningco.com

Please stop by for a visit and I'd appreciate a link from your site, as well.

Womens Health- The Mining Company features hundreds of reviewed Net links in currently 25 categories, weekly feature articles which deal with important health issues, scheduled chats, a free newsletter, and coming this week is a bulletin board where women will be able to ask questions and get answers.

Have a great day!

Tracee Cornforth

Womens Health Guide- The Mining Company

This week's feature: Cancer: Part Three- Support Services

* Subscribe to my Free newsletter! http://womenshealth.miningco.com/gi/pages/mmail.htm

Personal Homepages: http://members.tripod.com/~tlcrose

To Your Health Again!

This also just in:

I would love to have a link from your site to ours!!!!!!! We have pages on

- menstrual cycles

- menopause

as well as other topics not covered elsewhere. Your site is great!

Joan Schrammeck

Development Director, Feminist Women's Health Center

106 East E Street, Yakima, WA 98901

website: http://www.fwhc.org voice mail: 800-572-4223 x112

Abortion and birth control are powerful tools in the hands of women.

A Former Midwife Talks About Menstrual Cups


I'm enjoying my journey through MUM and just read the entire page of comments on The Keeper and Instead.

A little herstory: I wore tampons from my second cycle (age 14) on. Then when i was 19 I got toxic shock syndrome . . . so much for tampons! I hated pads, but was told I had no other alternative, so for the next few years I wore and hated my pads, how they looked, felt, etc. When I was 22 I gave birth to my son and put him in cloth diapers. It started to seem a little silly to me to use cloth on him and paper on me, so I made flannel pads for myself. When my lactational amenorrhea stopped, and my flow resumed, I used the cloth pads. [They were] more comfortable, and I was glad I wasn't throwing anything "away" anymore (the book Whitewash was a big thing in my life at the time! [It should be now; see the first article on this page]). But they were still PADS, bunching, riding, leaking . . . .

Then I discovered The Keeper. Wow! I was thrilled! From my first cycle with The Keeper I was amazed. I've never once had a leak and rarely had a "mess" to deal with. I find that I rarely need to empty it in a public restroom because I can go at least 12 hours at a time with it. In fact, here's a story about my very first day wearing The Keeper.

I received my Keeper in the mail and was very excited about using it. Two weeks later, my period started and I put my Keeper in, about 11 pm. I went to bed a little later and was awakened at about 3-4 am by the pager (I was a midwife -- now "retired"). A client, who lived almost 100 miles away, was in labor. I got up, dressed, and headed for her house. I completely forgot about my period and my Keeper! I attended the birth, and just before the baby was born my pager started going off. I couldn't get to it at the time, and about an hour later I finally checked the pager and found it was a "911" page from the hospital where my husband works. When I called, they told me he had been admitted with chest pains and was in ICU [intensive care unit] for monitoring. It was another several hours before I could leave the home of my client, and there was an awful thunderstorm which kept me driving 30-40 mph all the way home. I finally got to the hospital to see my husband at 11 pm -- 24 hours after I first put The Keeper in -- and in the bathroom realized I was wearing The Keeper. I emptied it -- it was FULL and a huge gush of blood came out from behind it too! But it DID NOT LEAK!!!!

I have worn The Keeper now for about 20 months. I have tried Instead a few times (and keep some on hand because I like having them for times when I want to have intercourse during my period) but it was less reliable for leakproofness and harder to insert correctly and to remove. I have worn my Keeper through four miscarriages as well.

I haven't had any of the problems that a lot of people have had with The Keeper, nor has it irritated my latex allergy! The only problem I've had with it is that I finished a miscarriage the same day my dog had a litter of puppies. I wasn't sure that I was done bleeding, so I rinsed out my Keeper and left it sitting on the bathroom sink. My dog was in the bathroom with the puppies. When I came in a couple of hours later, The Keeper was chewed into a million little pieces! :^ My own fault, of course!

I love my Keeper and wouldn't trade it for the world. However, I also don't use it constantly most cycles (though I have, without problems) because I like to be able to feel my blood flowing. I have made myself a large flannel pad to sit on (imagine those awful paper "blue pads" from the hospital, only in soft comfy cotton flannel) and while I'm at home during my periods I sit on that and let my blood flow.

Maka Laughingwolf, domestic goddess in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, USA

Life-after-lifepartner to Greywolf, RN, pagan, vegetarian, moon-honoring, unassisted-birthing, extended-breast-feeding, un-circumcising, non-vaccinating, cloth-diapering, family-sleeping, un-schooling, stay-at-home-mom to ds Daystar (6/23/91) and many babies never held in arms and work-at-home touch therapist & reiki master.

If a child is breathing, s/he's learning!

E-mail her!

)O( http://members.aol.com/makahealer/

We are each given a block of marble when we begin a lifetime, and the tools to shape it into structure. We can drag it behind us untouched, we can pound it to gravel, we can shape it into glory. (Richard Bach)

And Speaking of The Keeper . . .

Miki Walsh, a member of the board of this museum, also has a very good deal on The Keeper menstrual cup, which she loves. Mail her!

A-One, A-Two: I'm a "o.b. from Muskogee . . .,""Rely on Me . . ."

This popped into my electrobox recently (see older letters):


I've heard about the MUM and found your Web site via the awesome Mystery Date site [see the Growing Up and Liking It series about menstruation booklets for girls, written by Lynn Peril, the creator of the Mystery Date site]. I loved your Web site and am of course dying to see the actual museum. It's a long walk from Seattle, though, and so I doubt it. I do hope you write a book at some point. What a wealth of information you have! Loved the pictures as well.

My own personal experiences with menstrual culture (besides menstruating) include researching 'menotoxin-the most toxic substance known to man' [an amazing subject, and the subject of a future MUM page] and related 'scientific' ideas about alleged menstrual toxicity and performing in a punk rock band called the Tampon Eaters, formed in 1979 in Tucson, Arizona. We were formed in part in response to the distribution of Rely tampons [and see the first article on the page] in our college dorms and in the wake of the upsurge of toxic shock syndrome. Our songs included some political ones ('Rely on Me' [!] which was about rushing unsafe products onto the market, 'o.b. from Muskogee' [!] about menstrual dread, etc). It started out as a joke and morphed into a recording and touring band called 'Conflict.' We changed our name, of course, because 'Tampon Eaters' were pretty hard to book in those days. Our first show was in a local gay drag bar called Jekyll's and involved tampon wearing and eating . . . . [!]

Later on I became a member of The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research and my proudest moment was meeting Emily Martin at the airport. "I'll be the one carrying the red flowers!" [The writer may have switched Dena Taylor with Emily Martin.] My academic interests have changed since then, but I remain fascinated with cultural productions about menstruation, and wanted you to know how much I enjoyed touring the museum and reading the articles.

Best wishes,

KKM Allman


"and now my daughter has that chance!"

This hot off the wire:

Wonderful site!

I enjoyed it very much, as a human, a woman and an artist. I will admit, however, that I came upon your site in a quest for "weird news," and I was unsure prior to visiting the site if it was a farce or if there actually was a serious site that dealt with the menses. I (and my husband, who took the virtual tour [there are two cybertours of MUM; one static, and on the MUM site; and one video tour] with me while hanging over my shoulder exclaiming "Wow... I didn't know that," and "Darling, I'm glad you don't have to wear THAT . . .") enjoyed the fact-filled site, and am glad that you have placed this, as a subject, 'out there' on the Net.

I know that one day I will have to answer a thousand questions from my daughter on why women bleed each month, and I will be grateful that there are sites like yours to help her explore this new phase of her life (and the current phase of mine), and let her see how women have progressed in this area. I know that I had wished for a place to gather information, and answers, when I was young about this subject, and now my daughter has that chance!

Thank you. I hope to be able to visit MUM in person someday. Until then . . . .

TJ Riffle

We're Not Mum About Vacuum Cleaners!

And, last, a fellow male drops in:

Interesting . . . there really is a Web site for everything, isn't there?

Suddenly, my cyberspace vacuum cleaner museum doesn't seem quite so extraordinary anymore . . . . [No, it really is, Charlie!]

I used to hang out with a (female) rock star here in Hollywood who made all sorts of fun folk-art, including a limited edition set of customized Kotex decorated with glued-on "found" items such as jiggling baby-doll eyes, psychedelic 3-D holograms, safety pins, coins, etc. One of her most prized creations featured a 3-inch-long cockroach (deceased) which she had discovered outside on her patio.

Somewhere I still have the one she made for me. If I ever get around to digging through my boxes of "stuff" for it I'll send it to your museum, if you care to have it [Yes!]. However, the identity of the very high-profile singer will have to remain anonymous. If she found out I send it to you she'd kill me . . . .




Charlie Lester

Your Names . . .

Because of the nature of menstruation - many people are ashamed of it - I do not use names and addresses without permission from the writer, and I do not publish e-mail if the writer doesn't want it published. I do reserve the right to edit your letters for style or size.

© 1998 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute this work in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to hfinley@mum.org


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